<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Forbes, Miss
Grand tour diary of Miss Forbes.
Europe, 1780-1781.
Physical Description:
1 v. (115 leaves, with blanks) ; 13 x 19 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
D917 .G73 1780
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Kim Sloan, of the British Museum, has attributed the present diary to "Miss Forbes" (see: A dictionary of British and Irish travelers in Italy, 1997, p. 370). The attribution is based in part on a letter from Lady Phillipina Deane Knight of 2 May 1781, in which she refers to visitors (at Rome) who may have included the diarist of this manuscript: "We had this spring at Rome a young gentleman of the name of Fuller, with his sister a Miss Forbes, they were recommended to us by Sukie Knight. We received them both with utmost pleasure. They seemed both to be patterns of goodness, but are, I fear, but a short time for this world. I have some hopes that they will take my house in town upon their return to England; they are upon their journey" (Lady Knight's letters from France and Italy, 1905, p. 100). The author of the diary mentions frequent associations with Lady Knight and her daughter Miss Cornelia Knight, so it makes sense that Lady Knight might mention her in her letters. The author and her brother were both young, as were the gentleman named Fuller and his sister Miss Forbes who Lady Knight mentions. Also, both the author of the diary and her brother, as well as Fuller and Miss Forbes, spent part of the springtime in Rome.
Pen and brown ink.
Blind tooled sprinkled sheep binding.
A transcript of leaves [1]-[56]R and indexes of places and persons mentioned are available upon request.
A manuscript diary by an anonymous female traveler (perhaps "Miss Forbes") of a tour of Europe begun on Friday, 27 October 1780, by a party which included the writer and her brother, Robert. The writer also had a sister, news of whose death was brought to the party during their stay in Naples. The writer came of age on 23 April 1781, and so can be assumed to have been born on 23 April 1760. The party crossed from Margate to Ostend, and there is a dramatic account of their near-fatal journey. They then traveled through France, stopping at Lille, Paris and Lyon, crossed the Alps (the writer was "taken over in the chair which was made for the Duke of Gloucester") and traveled down through Italy to Rome and Naples, stopping in Turin (where there is an account of the court of the King and Queen of Sardinia at Moncalieri), Milan ("the cathedral ... is a most amazing building it has been nearly four hundred years erecting and is not yet finished"), Parma, Modena, Bologna, Florence and Siena. From Naples, the party visited, among other places, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Cumae and Pozzuoli. The writer was a close friend of the writer, poet and scholar Ellis Cornelia Knight, who had moved to Rome with her mother Lady Philippa Knight in 1776, and seems to have spent much of her time in Rome with them, visiting famous collections of paintings and antiquities, palaces and ancient sites during the day, and moving in the highest circles of Roman society at night. The return journey includes more detailed descriptions of Florence and Siena, as well as stops in Venice and Verona. Their route then took them through Switzerland, stopping in Geneva, Bern and Basel, finally returning to Ostend by way of Nancy, Luxembourg, Brussels and Ghent. Leaves written in landscape format. Not all leaves bear text. At the back of the volume there is a table of the principal towns they stopped at, the distance between them, the time each leg took and the inns they stopped at.
Subject Terms:
Belgium -- Description and travel.
Europe -- Description and travel.
Forbes, Miss.
France -- Description and travel.
Grand tours (Education)
Italy -- Description and travel.
Knight, Ellis Cornelia, 1757-1837.
Luxembourg -- Description and travel.
Ocean travel -- 18th century.
Rome (Italy) -- Description and travel.
Switzerland -- Description and travel.
Voyages and travels -- 18th century.
Women travelers -- 18th century.
Diaries -- 1780-1781.
Travel literature -- 1780-1781.

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.