As I said in my last blog the old-fashioned grand tours of the continent that incorporated Rome have impacted significantly on the architecture in the UK. But not only in the outside design of our stately houses and monuments.
It also impacted on the internal design of Georgian properties as ceilings were lifted in the living areas of houses and it became the fashion to make your ceiling a domed canvas for a work of art. Previously the fashion had been the style that had begun in Egypt to paint ceilings dark blue with stars or to display Tudor roses in roundels. The places the rich tourists would have explored in Rome included the Vatican and within the Vatican are incredibly bright and beautifully painted walls and ceilings – including the Sistine Chapel of course.
The pictures below have paintings from the Vatican on the left and paintings from Georgian stately homes on the right.
This adoption of the ornate ceiling dressing is not very surprising, and you may have guessed this, but the thing that really struck me was when I walked into this room in the Pope’s museum and it threw my memory back to a room in a stately home in England.
A couple of years ago when we visited Chatsworth House the tour ended with a room full of a collection of statues and busts and nothing else. The 6th Duke of Devonshire, known as Hart, had created the room to house his collection. I thought it really odd at the time, but when I walked into the room (pictured above) in the Vatican, the room I had seen in England years before made sense suddenly. It was a copy. Made by a man who saw something he was awed by and wanted to recreate it.
Many of the statues in the 6th Duke’s collection were acquired or inspired while on his first grand tour and during future returns to Italy.
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