Improving upon birth, marriage and divorce: the cultural capital of three late eighteenth-century female Grand Tourists

Emma Gleadhill*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While there has been much written on women’s travel experiences more recently, there has been little discussion of Grand Tour collections, except as décor or to support the claims made by male Grand Tourists. This article uncovers how three late eighteenth-century British women used the experience of Italian travel, reified through its objects and texts, to construct their identities. Lady Anna Miller (1741–1781), Hester Piozzi (1741– 1821) and Lady Elizabeth Holland (1771–1845) were all women whose social positions were insecure (whether through birth, marriage or divorce) and they each sought to materially exploit the cultural capital of having undertaken a tour of Italy to establish themselves more firmly in society on their return home. Through these women, we can trace the changing meanings of the Grand Tour in the late eighteenth century. Simultaneously we can uncover how they subtly subverted contemporary notions of femininity by choosing to represent their travels in particular ways following their return home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-36
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Tourism History
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Collecting
  • Eighteenth century
  • Gender
  • Grand Tour
  • Material culture
  • Women

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