This 'Picturesque' concept of landscape had a pervasive influence upon landscape painting and garden design in England, which endured well into the 19th century. In 1756 it was supplemented by the concept of the 'Sublime' propagated by the statesman and writer Edmund Burke. His Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful argued that both beauty and the awe-inspiring experience of the Sublime were perceived emotionally. Burke conditioned the thinking of a wide range of artists, including Reynolds, but his theory that both beauty and the Sublime were generated by subjective rather than objective criteria became a central tenet of Romanticism.
After visiting the Grande Chartreuse in the mountains of Savoy in 1739, in company with Horace Walpole, Thomas Gray enthused: 'a monstrous precipice, almost perpendicular, at the bottom of which rolls a torrent…concurs to form one of the most solemn, the most romantic, and the most astonishing scenes I ever beheld’, and continued: 'I do not remember to have gone ten paces without an exclamation, that there was no restraining: Not a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, but is pregnant with religion and poetry'.5 Gray was so moved by this sight that he wrote an ode, in Latin, in its honour.