When we think of the Grand Tour, we normally envision a young eighteenth-century British gentleman rounding off his education by extensive travel on the Continent. The tour could last several years, and his entourage would normally consist of a valet, a cook, a doctor, and a “bear leader,” the latter a combination of tutor and moral guardian, expected to prevent his charge from behaving too disgracefully. In Paris, the young master might take fencing and dancing lessons, while in Italy, he would study ruins and art, buy a Caneletto in Venice, and get himself painted by Pompeo Batoni leaning languidly against some impressive ruin in Rome.

But as Edward Chaney and Timothy Wilks document in their rich new Jacobean Grand Tour: Early Stuart Travelers in Europe, there was in fact an earlier wave of English aristocrats on the continent in the beginning of the seventeenth century, which ended a long...


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