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Free public exhibition:

Impressions of Spain in the 1830s

Weston Room, Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR

14 September - 10 December 2023. Open daily, 10.00-17.00

The 1830s witnessed an unprecedented level of British interest in the landscapes, people and monuments of Spain, from Peninsular War battlefields to the wonders of Nasrid Granada. Spain had not traditionally been part of the Grand Tour, which took wealthy Britons to France and Italy to discover the heritage of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, but the war against Napoleon had put the country firmly in the headlines, stimulating curiosity among British travellers; once the wounds of the Peninsular War had begun to heal and European travel was easier, that curiosity could begin to be satisfied.

This exhibition showcases the work of several British artist-travellers, including Harriet and Richard Ford, Owen Jones, John F Lewis, David Roberts and George Vivian, all of whom visited Spain in the 1830s, recorded their impressions and published the results.  It also celebrates the outstanding lithographers and engravers who brought these images to a wider public and features a rare opportunity to admire views by David Roberts’s Spanish protégé, Genaro Pérez Villaamil.

Using original pencil and watercolour sketches, engraved plates, printed books and even a rare fan paper, the exhibition takes visitors on a geographical and chronological tour of Spain through the eyes of these artists and their contemporaries. Exhibits are drawn from the library of Professor Sir Barry Ife, from the library collections of King’s College London and from several other important private and institutional collections and include many items not previously displayed in public. Printed catalogues to the exhibition are available in the Weston Room.

Mill and bridge on the Guadalquivir by David Roberts 1835

Exhibition curators: Claudia Hopkins and Barry Ife

To gain entry to the exhibition, please download an entry ticket here.

Please present this to Security colleagues at the main entrance to the Maughan Library, along with some valid photographic ID.

Event details

Weston Room
Maughan Library
Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR

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