James Boswell (1740-1795) is best known for his biography of his friend Samuel Johnson with whom he travelled to the western islands of Scotland in 1773. His letters and diaries about his European Grand Tour in 1763-1766 were published only in the XXth century. His descriptions of the monuments and works of art he saw are mainly based on books he had read or on what he was told by local guides, but here and there his letters touch on some unusual subjects.
Excerpts from James Boswell's letters on the Grand Tour related to his visit to Rome in 1765
Letter to Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Course in Antiquities
Monday 25 March
Tuesday 26 March
Wednesday 27 March
Thursday 28 March
Yesterday saw ... "Moses" by Michelangelo. Beard too long; horns, though sacred, yet ludicrous as like satyr; rest of the figure superb.
We attended the burial of an acquaintance of Mountstuart, George Anthony Werpup, a Hanoverian baron who had been killed when his carriage overturned. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery at night, because the prejudice against Protestants was so strong that the authorities refused to allow daytime interments there. Mountstuart erected a monument (the first in the cemetery) to him, with a long Latin inscription.
Read What Dante Saw.
Read What Goethe Saw.
Read What Lord Byron Saw.
Read What Charles Dickens Saw.
Read What Henry James Saw.
Read What Mark Twain Saw.
Read What William Dean Howells Saw.
Read Dan Brown's Spaghetti Bolognaise (excerpts from Angels and Demons)