About the Project

© The British Library Board. “Dante and Virgil”, from a manuscript of Dante’s Divina Commedia. BL Yates Thompson 36, f. 1 (c. 1450).

The project is centred on the reception and legacy of the Italian Renaissance in Britain and Ireland, with an additional consideration of the transmission of this influence from the old world to the new worlds of north America and Australia. Its main themes are: humanism (in literature, politics and historiography), heritage (collecting, travel, fine arts, architecture); and cultural translation (texts, themes, practices).

The project aims to move forward from existing studies of the Italian Renaissance by demonstrating that this major cultural movement was not restricted to Italy nor to the Renaissance period of history.

Key research aims:

  • to assess the material evidence for the reception and influence of the Italian Renaissance in Britain and Ireland from c. 1350 to c. 1914.
  • to demonstrate the impact of the Italian Renaissance, as an entire cultural movement, on British and Irish cultural production from the early modern to modern periods. How were literary conventions, the writing of history, political structures and art forms shaped by ideas that first took root during the Italian Renaissance?
  • to emphasise the two-way process of cultural influences between Britain/Ireland and Italy during and after the Renaissance - how did British and Irish visitors to Italy re-invigorate cultural phenomena there?
  • to examine the transition of the legacy of Renaissance intellectual activity from the old world to the new - what evidence is there that political structures, architecture and art forms in the new world owe something to the transmission and legacy of the Italian Renaissance in Europe?
  • to work with galleries, museums and libraries to promote the legacy and heritage of the Italian Renaissace through public engagement activities
  • to build a sustainable research network of UK and international partners which will generate further events, outcomes and grant bids