University of Illinois at Chicago
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Tourists into Teachers: The Rise of the British Cicerone. British Travel and Collecting, c. 1597-1720

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posted on 2015-07-21, 00:00 authored by Claire Spadafora
The eighteenth-century Grand Tour gave Englishmen the opportunity to learn through their travels on the Continent, and helped to establish British interest in Italian art. However, this eighteenth-century phenomenon was rooted in the values and actions of seventeenth century travelers, who helped to establish in England a taste for foreign works of art. Although most travelers were gentlemanly aristocrats, certain early Grand Tourists were unique in background and interest, and helped through their early explorations of the Continent to spread English interest in Italian aesthetics. By examining the actions and experiences of three atypical British travelers in Italy – particularly, in Rome – and the subsequent translation of their experiences into creative production (including architecture, writing, and collecting), I intend to demonstrate that early travel to the Continent served as a wellspring of creation – including the creation of the self – that would go on to influence British artistic taste. These early Grand Tourists paved the way for the massive increase in interest in both Italian art and travel on the Continent that would characterize much of eighteenth-century education.



Pollak, Martha


Art History

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University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Masters

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  • en

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