The Grand Tour of nineteenth-century prince : travels, classification, displays.
In this thesis I analyse the travels of D. Pedro V, King of Portugal (1837-1861) from
the prism of a 19th century visual culture. His travel diaries mirror the inseparability
of image and word in a century that was so eager to fill the encyclopaedia entries
with visual examples. Before acceding to the throne, the young prince undertook two
Grand Tours in Europe. The first one, in 1854, found him in England most of the
time, while his second tour, in 1855, had France and the Exposition Universelle, held
in Paris, as its major destiny. This event well illustrates what his interests were: the
sight of objects from all over the world was made possible; contemporary ideas of
instruction through amusement, progress and civilisation were experienced;
technologies of display from other institutions were employed; an all-encompassing
visual experience, in a reduced space and in a limited amount of time was provided -
while also needing the written word to make sense of the visible. All these aspects
are intrinsic to the journeys of a prince who had instruction as his main objective.
However, even if inscribed in the traditional educational aims of the Grand Tour
model, these travels have many different ways of achieving them. D. Pedro is mostly
interested in the urban centres of those countries where the future was already visible.
Be it through industrial and engineering developments or railways, be it in the many
public spaces of exhibition created by the 19th century to classify and display the
world. If collections are a major part of his travelling programme, collecting is the
word that better describes its aims: collecting sights and knowledge; collecting the
journeys through writing them; and collecting by acquiring natural history specimens
for his museum. Abroad was to be taken Home.