Department of History

Grand Tourists and Others: Travelling Abroad before the Twentieth Century

Project summary

The exhibition 'Grand Tourists and Others: Travelling Abroad before the Twentieth Century' ran between 29 April and 6 August 2016 at the Weston Gallery, University of Nottingham. It was co-curated by Ross Balzaretti and Manuscripts and Special Collections. The show drew on the extensive archival collections of Manuscripts and Special Collections at Nottingham to investigate travel in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There was a focus on the travel of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire residents. 

grand tourists exhibition poster


The exhibition was accompanied by a public events programme and was part of Season 2 of The Grand Tour, a regional tourism initiative. 140 people attended the opening (28 April 2016) when the show was formally opened by the explorer and author Levison Wood, who graduated in History in 2004 and took the final year Special Subject 'The English in Italy', taught be Ross Balzaretti. Levison is an Alumnus Laureate of this university. 104 people attended the first lunchtime talk (5 May 2016). The film showing was attended by 147 people. The second lunchtime talk on the Fanshawe sisters (14 June 2016, given by Ross Balzaretti and Charles Watkins, Geography) was sold out (200 people) as was the final talk (14 July 2016, Dr Sarah Goldsmith, University of Leicester). Dr Sarah Lutton (BFI) hosted a screening and lively post-show discussion of Rossellini's Viaggio in Italia.

 An online legacy exhibition can be viewed on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.

Who's involved

Ross Balzaretti

Online exhibition

Grand tourists and others



(2021) ‘Frederic Lees in Varese Ligure, 1911’, in Memory, Place and Travel Writing in an Age of Global Quarantine. Travels in Isolation, ed. Gary Foster and David Robinson (Anthem Press) 

(2015) ‘British Women Travellers and Italian Marriages, c. 1789-1844’, in Valeria Babini, Chiara Beccalossi and Lucy Riall (eds), Italian Sexualities Uncovered: The Long Nineteenth Century (1789-1914) (Palgrave), pp. 251-71.

(2016). iBook. ‘Prince Leopold’s Album’, in Parchment, Paper and Pixels. Highlights from Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham (2016), pp. 116-119. 

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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