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British Travelers in Eighteenth-Century Italy: The Grand Tour and the Profession of Architecture

Giorgio Caviglia
Nicole Coleman
Molly Taylor-Poleskey
Oxford University Press
March 2017

As published in the American Historical Review by Giovanna Ceserani, Giorgio Caviglia, Nicole Coleman, Thea De Armond, Sarah Murray, and Molly Taylor-Poleskey:

"Drawing on a dynamic digital database of eighteenth-century British travelers in Italy, in this article we offer a case study focused on British architects to demonstrate the potential of digital resources for historical research. Based on the entries in John Ingammels’s Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701–1800 (1997)—which covers the itineraries and lives of more than five thousand travelers—our project adds a new richness and granularity to the understanding of the Grand Tour. We see what these tours were like and what they did for British architects in Italy and beyond. We show the patterns of places visited, of funding, of social and professional gains and interactions, and we thus catch sight of a history of architecture that goes beyond the influence of Italian architectural models on British thought and design. This approach to the Grand Tour reveals the transformation of “architecture” from a gentlemanly passion and artisanal craft into a modern profession and discipline. By indicating some of the ways in which the Grand Tour served this transformation, this case study also suggests the broader promise of our digital approach for scholars of various interests."