This late 18th-century hand-coloured aquatint engraving by French artist James Merigot (1760–1824) depicts the Villa Medicis in Rome.
Any upper-class young male worth one’s salt would undertake a Grand Tour to experience the antiquities and ruined delights of European destinations, primarily Italy. Accompanied by a tutor or family member, these curious impressionable fellows would awaken their senses with classical architecture and historical artefacts - primed for their future endeavours within aristocratic high society.
Artist, James Merigot, understood the prestige of the Grand Tour and produced numerous drawings of popular sights he’d encountered. Working outside, ‘on the spot’ as he referred to it, his drawings were later used as the basis for his own engravings.
Here, we see Merigot’s study of the Villa Medici in Rome. A popular haunt for Grand Tourists. It’s one of 62 hand-coloured plates from the publication ‘A select collection of views and ruins in Rome and its vicinity; executed from drawings made upon the spot in the year 1791.’ Each seeking to capture the boundless poetic beauty of a land abundant with classical allure.
Held within a contemporary frame and glazed.
Learn more about James Merigot in our directory.
Medium: Hand-coloured aquatint engraving on wove
Overall size: 16½” x 14” / 42 cm x 36cm
Year of creation: 1796
Labels & Inscriptions: London Published Dec 7th 1796 by J Merigot, Haymarket Street R Edwards 142 New Bond Street
Condition: Artwork presents well.
Artist’s auction maximum: £4,000 for three aquatints at Bonhams in 2001.