The Grand Tour
In the 18th century, a young British aristocrat's education was not complete without travel abroad to experience other cultures.This rite of passage became known as ‘The Grand Tour’. Travelling through France or the Netherlands and Germany, the main destination was Italy where painting, sculpture and architecture of the highest levels could be viewed and savoured.
To those whose education was based on learning the literature and history of Ancient Rome, Italy had the finest examples, in terms of ruins, of this most revered civilisation. The Grand Tourist was expected to improve his education and collect, with the skill of the connoisseur, suitable examples of art. These were brought back home to the ‘great house’, demonstrating the aristocrat’s evident sophistication and cuThis lecture embarks on a typical tour through France and into Italy, visiting Florence and Rome and ending with exotic Venice. Portraits of the Grand Tourists and examples of paintings depicting views of the Italian cities and countryside are discussed, together with contemporary satirical prints which demonstrate how much humour can still be derived from this fascinating part of the history of Britain and travel in general.