Search the Archive

Search the National Gallery Archive containing records of the Gallery's activities from its foundation in 1824 to the present day. Find out more about the National Gallery Archive.

Record NGA2/1/12

Archive reference number NGA2/1/12
Title

Letters from Abroad Vol. III: Rome, Naples and Paris

Date [c1840-c1847]
Description

Letter-book containing copies of ten letters from Ralph Nicholson Wornum to his father written from Rome, Naples and Paris between March 1838 and October 1839. It is indexed at the front and contains 79 numbered pages. The letters appear to have been copied into the book when Wornum returned to England in 1840 although some of the notes were added as late as 1847. They describe his stay in Rome and Paris (with a brief trip to Naples), his studies of art (especially portraiture) and his continued work on his History of Painting and other writings. There are lengthy descriptions of aspects of life in Rome such as the carnival, monumental columns, ruins, baths, picnics, parties and the Campagna "barren and yet beautiful". There are also passages relating to Pope Gregory XVI and the Catholic Church expressing Wornum's disenchantment with priest government and its associated rituals. There is a detailed description of the Pope at the Maundy service. Wornum also describes a meeting with Don Miguel, King of Portugal. During his stay in Naples he comments on the pickpockets and brigands and his excursions to Vesuvius and Pompeii with his companions Stainton and Maxwell. The letters from Paris concentrate on art galleries and Wornum's views of French artists. He is particularly impressed by Luxembourg and laments the lack of living artists represented in the National Gallery. The letters also contain references to the political situation in Britain, notes on politics, the coronation of Queen Victoria, society and culture, particularly social classes, law, order, cholera and public health, his own malaria fever and friends and acquaintances. Other places visited include Florence, Assisi, Perugia, Pisa, Genoa and Marseilles

Record type Item
Alternative reference numbers NG32/12

Your list will only be saved temporarily. Inactivity of more than an hour could result in the loss of your list. If you would like to keep a record of your list, we suggest you email it to yourself.

Your list of records will be sent to us if you request an appointment, and a summary will be included in your appointment email notification.