Richard Symonds in Rome, 1649-1651
This thesis is a study of the notebook (British Library Egerton MS 1635) compiled by Richard Symonds (1617-1670), royalist exile and virtuoso, during his visit to Rome between 1649 to1651. The first volume of the thesis provides an analysis of the chronology of notebooks that Symonds wrote at the time and his methods of study, as well as a detailed reconstruction of his visits to a number of collections. The second volume consists of an annotated transcription of Egerton MS 1635, and an extract from British Library Additional MS 17919 which relates to Symonds's visit to Palazzo Barberini. Symonds's visits to the Borghese, Farnese, and Giustiniani collections in Rome allowed him to study at first hand major sixteenth-century works by Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio and the followers of the Carracci. He also visited four less important collections (which all had some renowned paintings) at Palazzo Mattei, Palazzo Spada, Palazzo Mazzerino and Palazzo Sachetti. In addition, Symonds made notes on Palazzo Barberini although he was only taken on a brief tour of this collection. Symonds's study of antique sculpture is revealed in his notes on the important collection he saw at Villa Medici, and two smaller ones belonging to Ippolitto Vitelleschi and the Pighini family. Symonds also encountered the circle of antiquaries and connoisseurs in Rome, which included Francesco Angelom, and among the artists he met were the painters Giovanni Angelo Camni (who served as his mentor) and Nicolas Poussin. Symonds was not only interested in art, architecture, and antiquities, but also the social and religious customs that he encountered, as well as early ventures into science and medicine. The taste and knowledge that he acquired in Rome is reflected in the paintings that he selected to record and admire, of which the vast majority were works by Titian, Raphael and the Carracci. A thorough investigation of Egerton MS 1635 establishes that Symonds's knowledge of Italian art was exceptional for an Englishman of the time.