This paper answers the question of whether or not there are Grand Tour portraits of women. Traditionally, the Grand Tour was considered an integral part of the education of young British aristocratic men, and women have been excluded from discussions of the subject in scholarly literature. A survey of the Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701-1800 indicates that approximately one-third of the travelers were women. In addition, I discovered reproductions of twenty-nine portraits of British women painted abroad, which document their participation in the Grand Tour. These facts demonstrate that an updated definition of the Grand Tour is needed.
This paper also attempts to advance understanding of women's experiences in the eighteenth century. The first chapter examines reasons why women went abroad and studies their activities while on the Grand Tour. I consider the implications of their travels, especially in relation to women's education in the eighteenth century. The second chapter traces the development of the portrait genre in England to provide a foundation for understanding the format and poses used in Grand Tour portraits. The third chapter deals with the Grand Tour portraits of women, analyzing them in terms of traditional representation of females in portraiture and also comparing them with Grand Tour portraits of men. The most successful portrait painters are discussed, including Pompeo Batoni, Anton Raphael Mengs, Angelica Kauffman, and Rosalba Carriera, as well as some lesser-known artists including Robert Fagan, Charles Grignion, and Louis Gauffier.
The portraits in this study reveal differences in how men and women were portrayed. In Grand Tour portraits of men, recognizable architectural monuments, classical statues, or distinct landscape elements are a defining feature, but these elements are rare in Grand Tour portraits of women. It is unusual to see a Grand Tour portrait of a man as an allegorical figure, while women are commonly depicted in the guise of Diana, Flora, or a shepherdess. Grand Tour portraits of women are valuable for providing evidence of women's presence abroad, but in terms of format, they generally adhere to the well-established, traditional styles of representation used in the eighteenth century.