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Rouse-Boughton, Catherine Charlotte ca. 1830–1912
Diary of a tour on the Continent, principally to France, Italy, and Switzerland.
Europe, 1852-1856.
Physical Description:
2 v. ; 22 cm. + 1 passport
Rare Books and Manuscripts
In Process D919.R68 D53 1852
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
The two diary volumes bound in contemporary dark green cloth.
Manuscript diary of Catherine Mary Rouse-Boughton, kept during her extended tour on the continent, principally to France, Italy and Switzerland, from May 1852 to July 1856. The diarist's party consisted of Sir William Rouse Broughton (1788-1856, one-time MP for Evesham), his son Andrew, his five daughters--Catherine, Mary, Frances, Theresa, and Frederica (later Frederica St. John Orlebar, the author of “The Adventures of Her Serene Highness, the Moon Faced Princess, Bentley, 1888)--and the girls' chaperone, Mrs. Eichbaum. For much of their time on the continent the three younger girls, Frances, Frederica and Theresa, are placed in a school in Switzerland. Their brother Andrew also leaves the party at some point. Also present is the party's passport stamped with the many visas required for continental travel.
Catherine Rouse-Broughton began the diary when already a year into the trip, in 1853. Initially, therefore she relies on memory and her account, while substantial, is not as detailed as when she is writing contemporaneously. Nevertheless, there are many good descriptions of the party's travels, which begin in Belgium before moving to Germany and Switzerland. “Murray in hand,” the party visits all the expected sites and experiences some of the hardships of continental travel: rough inns with buckets to wash in, flea-ridden beds (“that portion of my blood which the fleas have left me boils with indignation at their rapacity”), eccentric and sometimes pompous guides whose dialogue she nicely recreates. After a terrifying trip over the St. Gothard Pass they reach Lugano (“at this little bold town prohibited books are sold. In fact it has a very independent printing press that says 'I care for nobody' "). A rough sea passage from Genoa to Leghorn is equally terrifying: “a burrowing of the ship down, down, down, as if we were trying to get to the bottom of the sea ... we had one berth occupied by a very talkative woman! We had this additional nightmare.” After extended tours of Pisa and Florence (where “bonnet-shopping” is undertaken), the party reaches Naples which would “be our residence for some time” (it is possible that Sir William Rouse-Broughton had some official business there).
The lengthy stay in Naples allows the party not only to visit numerous sites of interest but also to make acquaintances among other tourists, including the young Earl of Belfast who tragically was to die of typhus fever just days after acting in private theatricals. A visit to the opera proves a memorable occasion when the “mob” in the Gods turns on the leading lady and hisses her off the stage. Among excursions there were naturally visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum. More excitingly, the Count of Syracuse invites the party to witness his own excavations: “a new tomb (Grecian) opened today. A few vases, a nice tazza.” If any of the relics were duplicates, the Count allowed the party to take them, a Lady Strachan bagging the tazza. On Capri, where they met Henry Wreford, former Italian correspondent of the Times and an antiquary “some pretty peasant girls and their partners danced the Tarantella for us on the flat roof of the girl's home.” Pleasant days of orange gathering and sketching outdoors follow. Back on the mainland they are given a private tour of the King's Palace at Caserta with its English Garden. While there they see two little princes, infants still, being driven out each in his own miniature carriage, “the smallest prince, I should think the Comte de Bari, had a little shelf-table in his carriage, on which he had an orange to play with.” After Naples, the party retraces its steps to Genoa and sails for Marseille (where they come across elements of the English army en route for the Crimea), followed by a trip up the Rhine through Avignon to Lyon. After a visit to Switzerland to collect the three sisters from school the party moves on to Rome where they make an exhaustive tour of the sites as well as visits to artists' and sculptors' studios (including those of Koerner, Imhoff, Tadoli and Benzoni). Finally “after four years and three months absence,” the party makes its way back to England.
Subject Terms:
France -- Description and travel.
Grand tours (Education)
Italy -- Description and travel.
Rouse-Boughton, Catherine Charlotte ca. 1830-1912.
Switzerland -- Description and travel.

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