Lot 35
Sold for £4,320 (US$ 7,261) inc. premium
Lot Details
Autograph journal of a "Journey from Paris to Naples 1769", beginning "We set out from Paris on Friday the 16th of June 1769, & lay that night at Fountainbleau", and ending in Florence ("...I descending the last Mountain, you have a very fine View of Florence & its environs, wch are pretty, tho' not equal to those of Genoa. You enter the Town by the Porta St Gallo where is a handsome Arch, built for the last Grand Duke. The Streets are paved like the foot paths in London, notwithstanding wch, they drive, & ride very hard through them. The Bridge of wch I had heard so much, by no means answer'd my Expectations. It is very inferior in size to our Thames Bridges, & in my opinion, in Beauty, to them and many others..."), breaking off with a description of the pictures in the Uffizi; the journal preceded by a page with notes on measurements and currency ("...A Louis D'Or is one English Pound, but you cannot change a Guinea in France for more..."), indicating that it was the volume kept with Bunbury as he travelled, and by an initial blank inscribed "Vol: 1st", 35 pages, plus numerous blanks, some worming to latter, later marbled half-calf, 8vo, Paris to Florence, June to July 1769


  • THE QUINTESSENTIAL ENGLISH GRAND TOUR: Henry William Bunbury (1750-1811), scion of a distinguished Suffolk family, was an amateur caricaturist, hailed by Horace Walpole as 'the second Hogarth', whose works have done much to define the image of the Englishman Abroad: "Bunbury began his career with the production of perceptive and documentary sketch impressions of the peasants and working people that he encountered during his Grand Tour travels in France. He displayed a particular fascination for the iconic figure of the French postilion and at least four variations of an individual portrayed in a variety of different attitudes appear in the British Museum collection (1769-70). Bunbury's early sketches are characterised by their surprising freshness and energy and unusually, they are engraved by Bunbury himself. Bunbury's talent for distilling the exotic nature of the 'foreigner' accorded well with the contemporary taste for xenophobic art and he was encouraged to show a representative piece of his work, La Cuisine de la Poste, at the Royal Academy exhibition in 1770. This received an enthusiastic reception and Bunbury went on to exhibit a companion piece, View on the Pont Neuf at Paris, in the following year" (Karen Marie Roche, Picturing an Englishman: The Art of Henry William Bunbury, 1770-1787, PhD thesis, University of Exeter, April 2008). Although he is unlikely to regain the level of acclaim enjoyed in the eighteenth century, nevertheless in recent times "his individual qualities became more widely appreciated again, not only among print collectors, but also among historians, for whom he provides a diverse and illuminating portrayal of society in the mid- to late Georgian period" (Christopher Reeve, ODNB). A journal of his Italian tour, presumably a continuation of the present volume, is preserved at Gainsborough's House, Sudbury, Suffolk; otherwise manuscript material by him is scarce.
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