A fair-haired upper class young man on a pilgrimage to Walsingham receives directions from a herdsman along the way, an illustration of a poetic verse found in T. Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Vol. 2: “‘Now gentle Herdsman/ Unto the towne of Walsingham/ Show me the right and readye way.’ ‘Turn downe that dale the right hand path,/ And soe, faire Pilgrim, fare the well!'” Walsingham was the most celebrated of all the English sanctuaries of the Virgin Mary, attracting pilgrims from all over England and elsewhere in Europe, especially from the 13th through 16th centuries. The pilgrims included several English kings as well as members of the nobility.
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry was a collection of ballads, sonnets, historical songs and metrical romances first published in 1765 by T. Percy. The contents were mainly drawn from The Percy Folio, a manuscript in mid-17th-century handwriting which is the most important source of English ballad literature and is now in the collection of the British Museum. The poems ranged in origin from antiquity to the 17th century. Percy edited them and added some from other sources both ancient and recent.
Thomas Stothard, a popular, prolific and successful English painter and book illustrator, was highly regarded by such contemporaries as Thomas Lawrence and Walter Scott. He studied at the Royal Academy. From the beginning of his career, book illustration was his main area of activity. Together with his friends and near contemporaries, William Blake and John Flaxman, Stothard developed an austere, linear style of draughtsmanship, although his illustrations tended more toward realism.
Mary Ryland was a printseller and fancy ornament seller in London from 1788 to 1817. She was the widow of William Wynne Ryland (1732-1783) a talented British stipple engraver of art prints who had ventured into forging money and was executed for the crime.
Drabble, Margaret. “Reliques of Ancient Poetry.” The Oxford Companion to English Literature. England: Oxford University Press, 1995. Xrefer. 2002. http://www.xrefer.com/entry.jsp?xrefid=374431 (10 October 2002).
Knight, Kevin, ed. “Shrines of Our Lady and the Saints in Great Britain and Ireland.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII, Robert Appleton Company, 1912. New Advent. 1999. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13760a.htm (10 October 2002).
Maxted, Ian. “Mary Ryland.” “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members.” Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History. U.K.: Devon Library and Information Services. 20 June 2001. http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/locstudy/bookhist/lonr.html (10 October 2002).