Seminar in the History of Collecting: The fortunes of Baroque Neapolitan art in English collections during the Grand Tour (1680–1800)
This lecture aims to provide an overview of the history of collecting Baroque Neapolitan art in England from 1680s to 1800s, a period when many English artists and collectors travelled to Naples during the Grand Tour. Based on Alessia Attanasio’s PhD research, it will introduce artists from the Kingdom of Naples who enjoyed considerable success among English patrons, demonstrating how the Grand Tour influenced the market for Baroque Neapolitan art — not just for the newly discovered antiquities in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae.
Today, Baroque Neapolitan paintings form a significant part of private and public English art collections, yet there is no publication exploring the significance of these collections as a whole. Therefore, the lecture aims to fill this gap by identifying and locating Neapolitan art in public and private English collections, now disclosed in an up-to-date database. The database will include images, references, notes on subject, author, and context, as well as acquisition and provenance details, providing the first comprehensive view of Neapolitan paintings today in England. Alessia will mainly focus on specific private British collections held in country houses such as Compton Verney, with the new redisplay of its unique Neapolitan collection, and Holkham Hall, which owns several Neapolitan paintings, both of which reflect the changes in art collecting in England. The lecture will bring together different fields of study, from the history of art to the art market, and shed new light on the material conditions that made art collecting possible.
Alessia Attanasio is an Italian art historian and PhD researcher at the University of Birmingham, focusing on Baroque Neapolitan art that was collected in England during the Grand Tour (1680s–1820s), with particular interests in country houses, history of collecting, and museum studies. Alessia’s interest in museums is supported by eight years of experience working in museums as an assistant curator and museum educator, including Capodimonte Museum in Naples, and the Royal Collection Trust in London. Most recently, Alessia has been undertaking research into Baroque artworks in the Neapolitan Collection of Compton Verney, contributing to the curation of its permanent redisplay, Sensing Naples.
Institution or Organization name - The Wallace Collection