The Road to Rome: Artists and Travellers on the Grand Tour
The mouth of the Grand Canal looking west towards the Carita by Canaletto The Royal Collection Â© 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
This exhibition tells the story of the 18th-century Grand Tour from a personal, regional and national perspective with important paintings from the Royal Collection, Tate, National Gallery, National Museum Wales and RAMM’s own collection.
In the 1700s even though continental travel was slow, uncomfortable, expensive and sometimes dangerous, the Grand Tour of Europe, and Italy in particular, was seen as the best way to complete a gentleman’s education. Before he became Exeter’s MP John Rolle Walter undertook the Grand Tour and while in Rome in 1753 had his portrait painted by Pompeo Batoni, one of the greatest portrait painters of the 18th century. This portrait was recently acquired by RAMM and features in the exhibition alongside works by other successful Grand Tour artists including Canaletto, Thomas Patch, Frances Towne, Richard Wilson, and Joseph Wright.
Fascinating documents relating the Grand Tour, such as the letters of Joseph Spence and maps and guidebooks from the British Library and regional archives, are also on display.
RAMM acquired the Batoni portrait in 2008 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Art Fund, Museums, Libraries and Archives/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and RAMM’s Friends.
Wednesday 2 May, 1 to 2pm, ticketed but free
Professor Jeremy Black investigates the development of the Grand Tour and throws light on some British responses to contemporary Europe.
15 December 2011 to 6 May 2012
- View venue website