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Wornum attended the studio of Henry Sass for three months in 1834 and then received twelve lessons in painting from George Reinagle. Inspired by the writings of Henry Fuseli and encouraged by Professor George Long (editor of the Penny Cyclopedia) he went abroad in 1834, and spent six years familiarising himself with the galleries, museums and churches of Munich, Dresden, Rome, Venice, Florence and Paris. It was during these formative years that it became clear to Wornum that his work as an artist would take second place to his writing. During his travels Wornum started to draft his 'Outline of a General History of Painting Amongst the Ancients' (1847), which was later published as 'Epochs of Painting' and adopted as a text book for art school examinations. At the close of 1839 he settled in London as a portrait painter, but did not seem at ease in this role or to enjoy much recognition.
This sub-fonds includes early journals, travel diaries, sketchbooks, and letter-books containing copies of Wornum's letters to his family from abroad. It also includes Wornum's passport, visas, maps and currency details. Most of the papers concern his early travels in Britain and Europe although there are a few items from later visits.
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