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Swinburne, Edward, 1765-1847.

Sketchbooks of tours in Italy / 1792, July 21-1793, April 12.

Physical Description:
5 volumes ; 20 x 13 cm, or smaller
Rare Books and Manuscripts
DG820.5.S95 E3 1792
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Related Content:
View catalog records for the Collection of Sketches by Henry Swinburne (Yale Center for British Art, Department of Prints and Drawings)
Drawings & Watercolors
Edward Swinburne (1765-1847) was the brother of Sir John Swinburne, 6th Bt. of Capheaton, and nephew of the travel writer and amateur artist, Henry Swinburne (1743-1803). Views by Edward Swinburne were engraved in Surtees' History of Durham (1840). He travelled extensively in Italy in the 1790s. Cf. Mallalieu, British watercolor artists; and Ingamells, British and Irish travelers in Italy. For a Collection of Sketches by Henry Swinburne, also in the collections of the Yale Center for British Art (Department of Prints and Drawings, B1977.14.3847 to B1977.14.4032), see link herewith.
All volumes bound in contemporary quarter calf and boards.
Dimensions of the volumes vary: v. 1: 20 x 13 cm; v. 2: 18 x 12 cm; v. 3: 20 x 13 cm; v. 4: 20 x 13 cm; v. 5: 15 x 21 cm.
Five manuscript sketchbooks containing about 500 drawings made by Edward Swinburne during his travels in southern Italy in 1792 and 1793. Four of the sketches are signed E.S., and at least twenty five bear various dates from 21 July 1792 to 12 April 1793. Sketches depict numerous locations and people and have greatly varying degrees of finish. Some pages bear a single detailed sketch, while other pages contain multiple small and quick study sketches. All of the drawings begin with graphite sketches, and most are finished in ink. At least 160 drawings are finished with a bistre wash, and a much smaller portion are fully finished watercolors.
There does not appear to be a clear geographical or chronological organization to the five sketchbooks. Nonetheless, volumes 1 and 2 depict scenes mostly in around Naples; volumes 3 and 4 depict Rome, country and towns along the Tiber river, and various other places in the region of Lazio. Volume 5, in an oblong album, depicts the far south of Italy, including areas of Calabria and Sicily. Many of the sketched subjects are unidentified. Those named (or easily identifiable) include: in v. 1 and 2, Naples, its port and palaces, and Mount Vesuvius; in v. 3 and 4, Rome, the Vatican garden, the Colosseum, the Albani Palace, the via Appia, Isola del Liri, Aquino, and Monte Cassino. Locations in v. 5 are well labeled and include Tivoli and Fondi (in Lazio), Calabrian towns of Seminara, Nicotera, Palmi, and Scilla, and several locations in Sicily, including Milazzo, Syracuse, and Mount Etna.
In addition to the many sights visited, Swinburne captured the posture, dress and habits of the people of the south in his sketches of everyday life. The are many sketches of local people in common dress, especially young peasant ladies. Swinburne sketches monuments and statues as well, and many of the figural studies (perhaps all of the drawings of unclothed figures) are from statuary. He appears fond of drawing anonymous figures in mid-slumber as well as oxen in various poses, with or without carts. In the Naples sketchbooks there are many harbor scenes, depicting a great assortment of packets, frigates, and galleys.
Subject Terms:
Calabria (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Clothing and dress -- Italy -- Early works to 1800.
Costume -- Italy -- Early works to 1800.
Grand tours (Education) -- Early works to 1800.
Italy -- Pictorial works.
Lazio (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Naples (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Rome (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Sicily (Italy) -- Pictorial works.
Swinburne, Edward, 1765-1847.
Figure drawings.
Landscape drawings -- Italy.
Travel sketches -- Italy.
Views -- Italy.
Graphite drawings.
Ink drawings.
Wash drawings.

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