The Lure of Italy: Continental travel pictures from 1775 to 1840
Exhibition now closed 18 Feb – 16 Aug 2010
A man who has not been in Italy is always conscious of an inferiority.’
Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)
This small exhibition of watercolours and prints presents a visual record of European journeys made by 18th and 19th century British artists. The ‘Grand Tour’, the cultural tour of Europe made by the British aristocracy in the 18th century, established this fashionable tourist route. Italy was the ultimate destination, but France, Switzerland, and the Alps were visited along the way.
The exhibition features highlights from these journeys, with views of key scenic destinations. Also included are some of the souvenirs travellers brought back with them: prints by artists, including Claude Lorraine, Piranesi, and Canaletto, and an 18th-century fan painted with scenes of Roman monuments, which was produced for the Grand Tourist souvenir market.