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A Journey to France and Italy: MS 3-2021

Object information


A Journey to France and Italy


Fitzwilliam, William (Author)


In English and French

Paper, 108 fols. (including endleaves), scribal ink foliation 1-73 and 1-12 applied only to leaves with text, at the centre of upper margin, underlined in red ink; 188 x 150 mm; text written on rectos only (with occasional supplements or corrections added on versos) in dark brown ink; catchwords at the foot of each recto.

Watermark: the same paper is used throughout (GR with pendant and bell inscribed JUBB, probably William Jubb the Younger, papermaker at Lower Mill at Ewell in Surrey) (see Alan Crocke, ‘The Paper Mills of Surrey II’, Surrey History, 4 (1989-93), 211-30, watermark reproduced on p. 228).

Binding: eighteenth century, polished tree calf with neo-classical gilt border ornament; marbled endpapers; modern spine repair, possibly re-using the original red leather spine label (A Journey to France and Italy MS); labels indicating of old Founder’s Library shelfmark, 13 E 26.


fols [1]–[12], blank

fols 1r–73r Account of Travels in France and Italy, July 1769 to January 1770

fols 73v and [74r] blank

fols 1*r (with additions on fol. [74v])–12*r

1777. The Charge of Travelling from London to Paris in a Post-Chaise and Four Horses for a Gentleman with his Valet de Chambre & Courier; as also his Expences during his stay at Paris for three Months with occasional Remarks … ‘till they Return to their own Country.

Followed by 12 blank leaves.


Copied by a single accomplished hand, probably the author, the Hon. William Fitzwilliam (1712–97) (paternal uncle of Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam) in brown ink, using red ink and underlining to pick out place names and other notable elements (first text only).


History note: Compiled by the Hon. William Fitzwilliam (1712–97), probably in 1777 (date of second text) (later pencil inscription on front endleaf: The Honble Wm Fitzwilliam Brewer Street Golden Square London. Died the 9 of March 1797 Aged 85 Years; given to Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam (inventory of his books taken at his death in 1816, FM, Museum Archive, p. 102: 'Journal of a Tour in France. M.S. 4o’);

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1816) by Fitzwilliam, Richard, 7th Viscount


Production date: AD 1777


This book brings together two texts by William Fitzwilliam, who on fol. 1 refers to himself as ‘an Englishman turned of Fifty!’. The texts were originally composed separately at an interval of seven years, but are here copied out together on English paper; William seems to have taken the chance of his nephew Richard’s imminent [first?] journey to Italy to present him with a neat, beautifully bound copy of his own travel diary for the years 1769-70, supplemented by a short (possibly incomplete) text of advice for the young traveller. Note also that Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam’s father the 6th Viscount (1711 - 25 May 1776) had died in 1776; perhaps his younger brother William felt impelled to offer substitute paternal advice to his nephew. The text of the diary (fols 1r–73r) has been worked up from an earlier draft, with place names written in red and underlined, and the syntax fully established; there are also pithy moments of advice that were probably not part of the original text and a disquisition on how to be a connoisseur of paintings that were surely added in order to transform a journal into a book of guidance and amusement.

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 3-2021
Primary reference Number: 279986
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 26 January 2021 Updated: Tuesday 26 January 2021 Last processed: Monday 15 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "A Journey to France and Italy" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-06-28 23:22:02

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url= |title=A Journey to France and Italy |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-06-28 23:22:02|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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