A Grand Tour Journal 1820–1822: The Awakening of the Man

Author(s): Edward Geoffrey Stanley
Edited by: Angus Hawkins  

ISBN: 9781781558904
£19.60 £28.00
The recently discovered Grand Tour journal of Edward Geoffrey Stanley, the future 14th earl of Derby and three-times prime minister.
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  • A unique record of the youthful adventures of one of Britain’s greatest nineteenth-century statesmen

  • An insightful travelogue on early nineteenth-century Italy, during a period of political and social upheaval

  • An erudite and highly descriptive critique on many of the most famous pieces of renaissance art and architecture to be found in post-Napoleonic Italy

  • An invaluable reference for scholars of the Grand Tour and a fascinating account for the general reader with an interest in nineteenth-century Italian history, British politics and high society abroad

  • Superbly illustrated with thirty-two paintings and ink drawings, some from the Derby Collection rarely seen before, depicting the romantic world that Stanley explored

In December 1820, at twenty-one years old, Edward Geoffrey Stanley, the future 14th earl of Derby and three-times prime minister, began an extensive tour of continental Europe with a focus on Italy.

By the time of his return to England twenty months later, he had visited many of Italy’s most celebrated centres for art and culture and explored the Swiss Alps and parts of Austria and Germany.

In his travel diaries he recorded his intensive social life, his visits to historical sites, his viewings of art collections, his comments on architecture, his admiration of landscapes and his impressions of foreign societies.

He was energetic, enthusiastic and discerning: the bridge of Augustus in Umbria gave him ‘a stupendous idea of Roman grandeur’; the charm of the towns crowning the Tuscan hills struck him with the same delight that he felt when gazing at one of Poussin’s paintings; the waterfall at Terni, which dropped 370 feet into an abyss of spray, was ‘awfully magnificent’; while the ceremonies of the Italian Catholic Church he judged to be a blend of mummery, superstition and bigotry. Sights and experiences like these influenced him for the rest of his life.

This precious collection of diaries, found only recently and published here for the first time, reveal Edward Stanley to have been a young man of diligence, courage and decisiveness: a future leader with a conspicuous and burgeoning sense of political and social justice. It was these characteristics, seen in early development within these pages, that shaped the man and the extraordinary career to come.

BOOK ISBN 9781781558904
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 224 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 24 November 2022
ILLUSTRATIONS 38 colour engravings and illustrations



Edward Geoffrey Stanley (1799-1869), later Lord Stanley and the 14th earl of Derby, was the first British statesman to become prime minister three times and remains the longest serving party leader in modern British politics. A complex, astute and influential figure, he dominated the political scene during the mid-nineteenth century.

Angus Hawkins (1953-2020) was a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and director of the Research Centre in Victorian Political Culture at Keble College, University of Oxford. Professor Hawkins wrote an acclaimed two-volume biography of Edward Geoffrey Stanley, The Forgotten Prime Minister, published by Oxford University Press in 2007 and 2008.