When the Welsh heroine, Rosa Percival, resists her father's plan to sell her to an English lord like a piece of property, her uncle praises her as ‘a bit of Cambrian blood, pure and honest, neither ashamed nor afraid to refuse the gingerbread gilding of a title’.
Weaving together themes of gender, liberty, power and transgression, Ann Julia Hatton’s Cambrian Pictures; or, Every One Has Errors (1810) is a comedy of manners and morals with serious intent. Notable for its inverse seduction plots, Cambrian Pictures is a witty and colourful courtship novel with a lively cast of characters: a cross-dressing Welsh girl duels with an unwelcome suitor, an ageing English aristocrat kidnaps the much-younger object of her lust. Mainly located in contemporary north Wales, Hatton explores idealised Welsh contexts in opposition to English-set metropolitan corruption. Featuring lyrical passages of description and sharply-observed domestic scenes, Cambrian Pictures is also stylistically interesting as a vehicle for poetry – in quotation and Hatton’s own. Drawing on domestic travel writing and the emergence of the Gothic, Cambrian Pictures is one of the strongest Welsh-set novels of the Romantic period.