Ultimately, these grand theories of wild natural beauty gave way to the tamer and more commercialised picturesque of the mid-19th century.
But Gilpin's works remained popular and several new editions, with additions by John Heaviside Clark, appeared.
Gilpin was born in Cumberland, the son of Captain John Bernard Gilpin, a soldier and amateur artist.
From an early age he was an enthusiastic sketcher and collector of prints, but while his brother Sawrey Gilpin became a professional painter, William opted for a career in the church, graduating from Queen's College, Oxford in 1748.
Many of these picturesque tourists were intent on sketching, or at least discussing what they saw in terms of landscape painting.
Gilpin's works were the ideal companions for this new generation of travellers; they were written specifically for that market and never intended as comprehensive travel guides.
In 1782, at the instigation of Mason, Gilpin published Observations on the River Wye and several parts of South Wales, etc.
relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty; made in the summer of the year 1770 (London 1782).
In the same work he criticises John Dyer's description of the view from Grongar Hill for describing a distant object in too much detail.
Such passages were easy pickings for satirists such as Jane Austen, as she demonstrated in Northanger Abbey and many of her other novels and works.