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Bunsen, Frances Waddington, Baroness, 1791–1876

Sketchbook of views of Rome and its environs.

Physical Description:
38 drawings, on 23 leaves (in 1 sketchbook) ; 18 x 24 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2012 6a
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Drawings & Watercolors
Frances Waddington, Baroness Bunsen (1791-1876), was the daughter of a Welsh country gentleman. In 1817, while spending the winter in Rome, she met the young Prussian diplomat and writer, Christian Carl (later von) Bunsen; they married in chapel of the Palazzo Sevelli (the residence of the Prussian envoy to the papal court). The marriage was happy, producing ten children, and their home in the Palazzo Caffarelli on the Capitol (Christian became secretary to the Prussian legation in 1818, and ambassador in 1823) "deserves to be mentioned as an international social meeting-point for artists and intellectuals. Visitors included, among others, the painter Johann Friedrich Overbeck, the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, the poet and scholar Giacomo Leopardi, as well as Thomas Arnold, Julius Hare, Connop Thirlwall, Philip Pusey, and Sir Walter Scott from Britain" (Oxford DNB).
The Bunsens' summers in Italy were spent in the countryside around Rome. "The glorious subjects in the Alban Hills and at Rome ... gave constant employment to the artistic powers of Madame Bunsen. Thorwaldsen said of her sepia sketches of Rome and its environs that he 'knew no artist, whether professional or amateur, who then equalled her in exact representation, from her power of choosing a view which made a complete picture, without adding or abstracting from the reality before her.'" (Augustus J. C. Hare, The Life and Letters of Frances Baroness Bunsen, 1879, vol. I, p. 113).
Thirty drawings in this sketchbook were reproduced (as albumen prints) and published in: Views of Rome and the environs : photographed from the original drawings taken from nature by Frances Baroness de Bunsen, ca. 1860 (BAC has part 1 of this publication).
Note: this sketchbook is not the one that is mentioned in the Apollo 1963 (p. 389-394) article "Frances Bunsen's Italian Drawing Book" by Geoffrey Willis. In fact, the sketchbook in the article is not by Frances Bunsen.
Bound in contemporary full vellum over boards, the covers with hand-decorated color border (in an Italian style), spine tooled gilt.
Barry, R.R. Rare books uncovered, pages 115-117
Sketchbook of drawings made in the countryside around Rome, 1817-1837, by Frances Waddington, Baroness Bunsen. The sketchbook includes 31 drawings in pen and ink, with sepia wash, and 7 sketches in graphite (one concealed by a drawing). The drawings are either made directly in the sketchbook or pasted onto leaves therein. Most of the drawings are captioned and dated. The first ("Mont Albano") is signed "F.B."
The majority of the drawings were done in Frascati, and depict a number of the great papal villas--Piccolomini (where the Bunsens often spent the summer), Falconieri, Rufinella, Taverna, Mondragone; some of these are done more than once (there are drawings of the Villa Falconieri, for example, from 1825, 1832, and 1837). Other drawings include the Rocca di Papa, Grottaferrata, Castel Gandolfo, Castel Giubileo, Fiumicino, and two drawings done in Rome (the Villa Borghese gardens in 1817, and a sketched view from a window in the Palazzo Caffarelli in 1829).
Subject Terms:
Alban Hills (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Architecture, Domestic -- Italy.
Bunsen, Frances Waddington, Baroness, 1791-1876. Views of Rome and the environs.
Castel Gandolfo (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Castel Goffredo (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Fiumicino (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Frascati (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Grottaferrata (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Palazzo Caffarelli (Rome, Italy)
Rome (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Villa Borghese (Rome, Italy : Park)
Villa Falconieri (Frascati, Italy)
Villa Mondragone (Italy)
Villa Piccolomini (Rome, Italy)
Villa Rufinella (Frascati, Italy)
Villa Taverna (Rome, Italy)
Ink drawings.
Wash drawings.
Graphite drawings.
IIIF Manifest:

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