From Grand Tour to Home Tour, 1760–1800

  • Glenn Hooper


For much of the eighteenth century, young Britons of a certain class regarded continental travel as a way of completing their education.1 A visit to Europe, especially with the exotic pleasures and greater cultural appreciation it was presumed to bestow, gave a gloss of sophistication and maturity to their lives.2 Indeed, many focussed almost exclusively on this view of travel, believing themselves engaged in a self-fashioning exercise, an effort intended to bring the references and allusions gleaned from a classical education to life. Some learned languages, engaged meaningfully with different cultures, and improved their appreciation of the arts, although much of what they absorbed was predetermined, stemming as it did from a very definite set of geographical coordinates. Nevertheless, to partake in the Grand Tour of Europe was esteemed one of the most worthy of pursuits, and many well-known figures — Adam Smith, Tobias Smollett and Lawrence Sterne, for example — made trips to the centres of continental culture. They visited the Italian cities of Siena, Florence, Venice and Rome, but also southern venues such as Puglia, and for the hardier tourist, Sicily.3 France, too, as well as parts of middle and northern Europe drew an enthusiastic response, with Paris and Versailles, Amsterdam and Vienna, becoming increasingly popular.


Eighteenth Century Lake District Woman Writer Aesthetic Response Natural Curiosity 
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© Glenn Hooper 2005

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  • Glenn Hooper

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