Tourism images of Giant’s Causeway from 1700s go on display

Susanna Drury (active 1733 ' 1770) East Prospect of the Giant's Causeway (c. 1739) � National Museums NI, Collection Ulster Museum
Susanna Drury (active 1733 ' 1770) East Prospect of the Giant's Causeway (c. 1739) � National Museums NI, Collection Ulster Museum
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Two ‘tourism’ paintings of the Giant’s Causeway, which may have attracted visitors to the Co Antrim attraction in the 1700s, have gone on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

Painted by Susanna Drury around 1739, the artworks are included in a unique selection entitled Changing Views, which depict far-away places including Venice and Rome, and helped to ignite a new passion for foreign travel.

Changing Views includes watercolours, prints and drawings from the Ulster Museum collection, spanning nearly 300 years of artists capturing the ‘living picture’.

Anna Liesching, curator of Art from National Museums NI, said the Giant’s Causeway paintings are a highlight of the exhibition.

“It is said the Giant’s Causeway was ‘discovered’ in 1692 by the Bishop of Derry,” said Anna.

“However Susanna Drury’s eighteenth-century depictions of the Causeway were the first truly accurate images showing the now world-famous natural wonder.”

Anna said some of the works on display, including those by Emily Murray Patterson, Giovanni Batista Piranesi and Jean Baptiste Louis Hubert, would have inspired viewers to become visitors themselves and to travel to these destinations.

*Changing Views exhibition is currently on at the Ulster Museum. Admission is free.