CARLO LABRUZZI (1748-1817)
TWO FIGURES IN AN ITALIANATE LANDSCAPE,
POSSIBLY ALONG THE APPIAN WAY
Numbered u.m. 128
Watercolour with grey wash and pencil
40.5 x 55.8 cm
Hugh David Graham Carritt (1927-1982);
By whom given in 1980 to Lady Alexandra Naldera Metcalfe, CBE (1904-1995);
By descent to the previous owner
Born in Rome to a weaver, Labruzzi would go on to become one of the most sought-after vedutisti for British Grand Tourists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Among the accolades he collected over the course of his career, he was admitted to the Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon; was elected a member of the Arcadians, effectively the Italian equivalent of the Royal Society of Antiquaries in its day; was made a member of the Accademia di San Luca (the artist's guild of Rome); and, finally, was awarded the Order of the Golden Spur by Pope Pius VII. Along the way, Labruzzi's patrons numbered Prince Camillo Borghese, the Russian and Polish Courts, numerous figures among the British establishment (including the Hoare family, the Duke of Gloucester, and the Earl of Pembroke), and even the Holy See itself. In 1814 Labruzzi was appointed director of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Perugia, a position he held until his death in 1817.
Among all his many clients, Labruzzi's best-known association was with Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bt., of Stourhead. Hoare had envisioned a grand journey along the Via Appia, to be written up by himself and illustrated by Labruzzi; however, various misfortunes interceded and prevented much of this trip's realisation. In spite of this, Labruzzi's watercolours executed in Hoare's company (estimated to number around 226) and the 24 prints of the Via Appia Illustrata... are now well-known to collectors, which has led to a revival of interest in his other artistic endeavours and achievements. Colt Hoare was later to bind the finished pen and wash drawings into 5 volumes, some of which are now in the British Museum and the Accademia di San Lucca, Rome.