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Cooper, Catherine

Diaries of travels in Europe.

Europe, 1829-1831.
Physical Description:
2 v. (121, 130 p.) ; 17 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
In Process D919.C66 D5 1829
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Vol. 1 bound in contemporary red half roan and marbled boards; vol. 2 bound in contemporary maroon quarter cloth and marbled boards.
Manuscript diaries kept by Catherine Cooper and her husband during two excursions on the Continent, in 1829 and 1831.
The first volume (121 pages) is entitled Journal of a tour through some parts of Holland, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France in the summer of 1829 and is written by Mr. Cooper. Diary entries are kept from May 30 to July 10. It is his first trip abroad, and he concludes with a lengthy section devoted to his thoughts on the benefits of travelling. He offers many personal views, as everything is novel to him. For example, on visiting the galleries in Paris, he write: "I must confess to myself that these modern paintings give me more pleasure and appear to me more beautiful than the finest productions of the old masters which I saw yesterday in the Louvre." Although acknowledging the city's superiority to London on artistic merits, "nothing but necessity ever could induce me to live there." On stepping off the Talbot steam packet at Brighton, "Dearest Catherine & my little boy met me upon the chain pier with smiling faces, and there have been few occasions during my life upon which I have felt happier than on this." He summarizes: "From this short excursion I hope to have derived much benefit: clear and definite notions of many places and things of which I had before very confused and imperfect conceptions; a taste, perhaps somewhat improved with regard to beautiful scenery & fine works of art, and a diminution of those prejudices, the natural result of a limited knowledge of mankind, which lead us to judge the habits & customs of other nations to be right or wrong, not from their intrinsic perspicuity, but merely as they agree or disagree with our own."
The second volume (135 pages), untitled except for Catherine's name and date on the endpaper, commences two years later, covering dates from June 25 to August 3, 1831. Catherine travels without her husband or children, and the majority of this time is spent in Paris, visiting numerous sights of interest and ending with a ball, where "the ladies were so ugly ... that I had very little pleasure in the evening." On July 19, she sets off for La Grange, the seat of General La Fayette: "Arrived there to dinner at 6 o'clock, & sat down to table with a party of 50 persons, 30 of whom were relatives of the general's ... I found [him] a most polite and kind hearted old man, and it was extremely gratifying to see him living so respected and happily in the bosom of his numerous family, consisting as it did of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The society however being principally French, I could not enjoy it much, and was glad enough when bed-time came, and I could retire to my room ..." She next visits Notre Dame, before joining Mr. Thomas, and Mr. and Mrs. Cooper (her in-laws?), "to see a private collection of paintings which belong to Marshal Soult, Duke of Dalmatia. They are all works of the most celebrated & ancient artists, principally Raphael, Titian, & Claude Loraine, and it is generally allowed to be the best private collection in the world."
Subject Terms:
Cooper, Catherine -- Diaries.
Europe -- Description and travel.
Paris (France) -- Description and travel.

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