Digital Resources, Part II: ‘The Grand Tour’

Posted in resources by Editor on November 19, 2010

I recently stumbled across the following digital resource, though I’ve not yet had the opportunity to use it (relatively few libraries seem to have yet picked it up). Comments are especially welcome from anyone who has begun to explore it. -CH.   The following description comes from the website of Adam Matthew Digital:

The Grand Tour, a collection of research materials from Adam Matthew Digital

Editorial Board: Jeremy Black (University of Exeter), Melissa Calaresu (University of Cambridge), Edward Chaney (Southampton Solent University), Rosemary Sweet (University of Leicester), Emma Winter (Columbia University)

Source Libraries: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, British Library, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Private Library of Edward Chaney, Birmingham Art Gallery, Durham University Library, Surrey History Centre, Southampton University, Cornwall Record Office, Northumberland County Archive, Buckinghamshire Archives, West Yorkshire Archive, Devon County Record Office

Nature of the Material
This collection of manuscript, visual and printed works allows scholars to compare a range of sources on the history of travel for the first time, including many from private or neglected collections. Printed texts have been double-keyed enabling full text-search; manuscript items have been indexed. A good number of images are in full colour, including all paintings. We include:

  • Letters
  • Diaries and journals
  • Account books
  • Printed guidebooks
  • Published travel writing
  • Paintings and sketches
  • Architectural drawings
  • Maps

Scope of the Collection
Taking the phenomenon of the Grand Tour as a starting point, this resource explores the relationship between Britain and Europe between c1550 and c1850, exploring the British response to travel on the Continent for pleasure, business and diplomacy. The Grand Tour includes the travel writings and works of some of Britain’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers, revealing how interaction with European culture shaped their creative and intellectual sensibilities. It also includes many writings by forgotten or anonymous travellers, including many women, whose daily experiences offer a vivid insight into the experience and practicalities of travel over the centuries. This collection of manuscript, visual and printed works allows scholars to explore Anglo-European relations during this period from every angle. Topics covered include:

  • European political and religious life
  • British diplomacy
  • Material culture, taste and collecting
  • Everyday life
  • Life at court and social customs on the Continent

There is a wealth of detail about cities such as Paris, Geneva, Venice, Rome, Florence and Naples, that will excite both urban and architectural historians. The Grand Tour is also wonderful source of information about daily life between 1550 and 1850, highlighting such everyday issues as transportation, money, communications, food and drink, health and sex. The collection has a very broad appeal, and will be of great interest to: social, cultural and political historians interested in the period 1550-1850; literary scholars; and art history or fine art departments. (more…)

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