Frolics in the Face of Europe: Sir Walter Scott, Continental Travel and the Tradition of the Grand Tour
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.
|FORMAT||234 x 156 mm|
|PUBLICATION DATE||24 November 2022
|ILLUSTRATIONS||38 colour engravings and illustrations|