The English Prize The Capture of the Westmorland, An Episode of the Grand Tour María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui Alpañés, Scott Wilcox

Publication date:
15 May 2012
Yale University Press
392 pages: 305 x 241mm
350 color illus.
Sales territories:

Laden with works of art acquired by young British travelers on the Grand Tour in Italy, the British merchant ship Westmorland sailed from the Italian port of Livorno before being captured by French naval vessels and escorted to Malaga in southern Spain. The artistic treasures on board were purchased by King Carlos III of Spain, and the majority were deposited in the collections of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. There they resided, unknown, until recent research, using original inventories that survive in the Academia's archives, identified the Westmorland's rich cargo.

The English Prize reveals the gripping story of the ship's capture and the disposition of its artistic contents, which included Raphael Mengs's Perseus and Andromeda, Pompeo Batoni's portraits of Frances Bassett and Lord Lewisham, and watercolors by John Robert Cozens. This volume illuminates the cultural phenomenon of the Grand Tour and the young travelers who acquired the trove of books and art works on board the Westmorland but were never able to enjoy their purchases.

María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui Alpañés is the lead scholar in the Westmorland research project. Scott Wilcox is chief curator of art collections at the Yale Center for British Art.

"This intensely thought-provoking exhibition and catalogue open a new door for advancing our understanding of the Grand Tour." Stephen Lloyd, Apollo Magazine

"A beautiful volume, excellently produced and which does full justice to its subject… Breaking new ground the book is a treasure for any library. It makes a major contribution to 18th century social and artistic history, which, after all, is the basis of modern British culture.” The Cornish Banner