At its height, from around 1660–1820, the Grand Tour was considered to be the best way to complete a gentleman’s education. After leaving school or university, young noblemen from northern Europe left for France to start the tour. After acquiring a coach in Calais, they would ride on to Paris – their first major stop. From there they would head south to Italy or Spain, carting all their possessions and servants with them. Their most popular destinations were the great towns and cities of the Renaissance, along with the remains of ancient Roman and Greek civilisation.
The Grand Tour allowed those who could afford it the opportunity to buy things otherwise unavailable at home. Grand Tourists would return with crates of art, books, pictures, marble sculptures, and items of culture, which would be displayed in libraries, cabinets, gardens, and drawing rooms, as well as the galleries built purposely for their display.
The Grand Tour became a symbol of wealth and freedom. One of the greatest collectors of these items, was Sir William Hamilton, whose wife, Emma became the mistress of Nelson.
We often have Grand Tour marble items for sale at www.hurleymarble.co.uk
Please contact us if there is anything specific you have been looking for, or any items you would like restoring.