The Grand Tour Abroad
The term ‘Grand Tour’ was instituted by the Catholic cleric and travel essayist Richard Lassels (c.1603-68), who utilized it in his compelling manual “The Voyage of Italy” (distributed 1670) to depict youthful wealthy men going abroad to find out about workmanship, design, and vestige.
During the eighteenth century specifically, the tour turned into a profoundly attractive route for aristocrats and upper class across Europe, and particularly Britain, to finish their training. Youngsters were presented to Greek and Roman history, language, and writing all through school and college. When they traveled to another country – as a rule, escorted by a paid mentor, known as a ‘cicerone’ – this old-style instruction has inventively happened directly in front of them.
The development of the British Grand Tour was particularly amazing in the years 1764 to 1796 – a brilliant age as far as the number of voyagers, traveler painters, unearthings, and send out licenses discharged from Rome to British residents – harmonizing with an extensive stretch of harmony and success in Europe.
Increasing wealth, stability, and political importance enabled more and more people to travel so. At the same time, a typical Grand Tourist was likely to be a young British milord completing his education; extended trips were also undertaken by artists, designers, collectors, agents of the art trade, and large numbers of the educated public, including many women.
The customary course of the Grand Tour included showing up in Paris where sightseers would bring or purchase transport, and they would then cross the Alps conveyed by a seat at Mont Cenis before proceeding onward to Turin. Vacationers would focus on popular celebrations, for example, the Carnival in Venice or Holy Week in Rome. They would then advance gradually through Lucca, Florence, Siena, and Rome to Naples and afterward return north by returning to Rome before going to Venice through Loreto, Ancona, and Ravenna. Sightseers would leave Italy through Vicenza, Verona, Mantua, Bologna, Modena, Parma, Milan, Turin, and Mont Cenis.
Can a collector find a Grand Tour passport? Maybe, but it will be challenging to identify such a document as there are no precise distinguishing characteristics from other travel documents. Just because someone traveled to Italy, France and Germany don’t mean he made the Grand Tour. One indicator might be a prominent or noble name and a traveler of a young age, etc.
The following passport even describes “a traveling bachelor,” at age 32! Life expectancy at the end of the 18th century was only 40 years, according to this source. It surely was different for wealthy/noble families. John Fiott, the bearer of this passport, could have made the Grand Tour, he died at age 83 in 1866.
A passport, issued in Berlin just two days after the Battle of Waterloo. Issued in French (the diplomatic language at the time) to Monsieur Fiott ‘gentilhomme anglais’, and is signed by British diplomat George Jackson. The recto is printed with an engraved coat of arms, above printed details with manuscript insertions. Both the bottom part of the recto of the passport and the entire verso side is filled with stamps and official manuscript border notes, as well as three official red seals.
John Fiott, who later changed his name to John Lee, studied at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and then traveled extensively on the Continent between 1811-1815. He spent three months in the company of Lord Byron in Athens and also collected antiquities. He witnessed Napoleon’s arrival on Elba in 1814. In 1815 he returned home to England on the news that his uncle and guardian, William Lee Antoine, was in ill health. To receive his uncle’s inheritance, he was obliged to change his surname to Lee. He later became a well-known astronomer.