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Resa Til Italien, 1780, 1781, 1782. Skrifven 1782 I Stralsund.

Carl August, Count Ehrensvärd

RA Collection: Book

Record number




Stockholm,: Tryckt I Kongl. Tryckieret,, 1786.

Physical Description

[iv], 84 p., [38] pl.; 280 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

The catalogue of the Royal Library, Sweden, describes the book as having [6] rather than [4] unnumbered pages.


[T.p.] - Företal - [Text and plates].

Responsibility Note

The plates carry no engraved signatures. But in the Royal Academy's copy the first plate (facing p.3) has been inscribed in ink, 'Count Ehrenswärd invt.' bottom left and 'E. Martin. the Associate, sculpt.' bottom right; and the remainder, 'A.E.' bottom left and 'E.M.' bottom right (with page and line references to the text).


Carl August Ehrensvard's Journey to Italy 1780, 1781, 1782, with an introduction by Sten Ake Nilsson ; translation by Alan Crozier (2017). C.A. Ehrensvärd, Resa Till Italien - Viaggio In Italia (1969) [Swedish text, Italian translation and commentary]; H. Frykenstedt, Carl August Ehrensvärd: an original Swedish aesthetician and an early functionalist (1965); R. Josephson, Carl August Ehrensvärd (1963).

On Elias Martin, A.R.A. see H. Frölich, Bröderna Elias Och Johan Fredrik Martins Gravyrer (1939); R. Hoppe, Målaren Elias Martin (1933).

The cultural context is described in E. Cheney, The evolution of the Grand Tour (1996), C. Hibbert, The Grand Tour (rev. ed. 1987). British artists who have left accounts of their tours include Thomas Jones and Jonathan Richardson.

Summary Note

The book consists of notes by Admiral Count Ehrensvärd, critic and antiquarian, on his visit to Italy, with plates engraved after his own drawings. Ehrensvärd's route ran from Stralsund via Paris, Milan, Terracina and Rome to Sicily, and from Sicily via Montecassino, Bologna, Milan, Venice and Vienna to Stralsund. Ehrensvärd declares at the outset that his descriptions would be too short - had not others' been too long. But, though he pointedly avoids eulogizing famous sites, he takes a less unconventional stance in continually idealising southern over northern peoples, on the grounds of their resemblance to the supposed physical and cultural character of the ancients. He concludes with an account of some monuments at Rome and Naples - approving the ancient Romans for their good taste.

Most plates show landscapes or local people, and are related to passages in the text where the author declares their dress, hairstyles and general bearing to recall those of the ancient world. They are simple outline etchings, possibly intended to be coloured subsequently (all have been coloured by hand in the Royal Academy's copy).

The engraver, Elias Martin, had been drawing-master to Count Ehrensvärd. Between 1768 and 1780 and again between 1788 and 1791 he lived in Britain, a friend of William Chambers, who had been born in Sweden, was a Swedish speaker and throughout his life maintained links with Swedish artists and patrons. Martin became a student at the Royal Academy in 1769, and an Associate in 1771. Influenced by Richard Wilson and Paul Sandby, he became a well-known landscape-painter both in Britain and in Sweden.

Most of the original drawings are preserved in the Royal Academy of Arts, Stockholm, and in the Swedish National Museum.


Facsimiles were published in 1978 (Stockholm: Rediviva) (ISBN 9171201114) and 1999 (Täby: Lind & Co.) (ISBN 9197305529).


Presented in 1787 by the engraver, Elias Martin, A.R.A. (RAA Council Minutes II, 51).

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf, gilt borders on upper and lower boards; rebacked in 20th century, gilt-decorated spine, green morocco spine-label, lettered, 'Resa Til Italien'.

Name as Subject


Italians - Costume - Clothing and dress - Swedes - Italy - Description and travel - History - 18th century
Travel literature - Travel sketches - Views - Sweden - 18th century
Pictorial works - Hand coloring - Sweden - 18th century


Elias Martin ARA, engraver, previous owner, donor
Sweden - Kongliga Tryckieret, printer

Images from this book

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