Sandby's tours through Wales in the 1770s were critical in opening English eyes to the beauties of that country. Cader Idris with its dramatic forms was considered one of the most splendid picturesque places the traveller would encounter on the Welsh tour. At the base of the mountain nestles the small town of Dolgellau. The picturesque aesthetic dominated English landscape painting in the second half of the eighteenth century, and Paul Sandby was one its principal exponents. In the simplest terms, the picturesque sought out those dramatic vistas, those irregular, broken aspects in the landscape, seamed and roughened by the dilapidations of time, which excited the imagination of the viewer to admiration or reverie.