Art and Design and Arts and Humanities, Design, History, Visual Arts, University of Birmingham
My research project aims to investigate and understand the less known – and studied – history of collecting Baroque Neapolitan art in England during the Grand Tour, with a focus on the different meaning and significance of the Grand Tour of Southern Italy. The thesis covers the years from the 1680s to the 1820s, a period when a considerable number of English young aristocrats and collectors travelled to Italy; among them, John Cecil was certainly one of the most prolific patrons of his time with more than four hundred paintings collected in only five years spent in Italy. Although Cecil is an “early” exception, there were thousands of Neapolitan artworks collected during the Grand Tour by English patrons, and many of these pieces are still displayed in country houses across England, under the patronage of the same ancient families who travelled to Italy in the eighteenth century.
Baroque Neapolitan art continues to be an essential part of private and public English art collections today, yet there is no publication that explores the significance of these collections as a whole, supported by an illustrated database. My project aims to provide the first comprehensive view of the Neapolitan paintings still admired today across England in private and public collections, with a particular focus on English country houses,