During the 1820s, the Regency portrait painter John Partridge (1790-1872) made a four-year tour of Italy to enhance his training and reputation. On reaching Rome he encountered a like-minded group of young British artists who formed the city's sizable expat artistic community. The drawings Partridge made in his sketchbook, exhibited here for the first time and including landscapes, figure studies and portraits, records his responses to Italian art and culture as well as those of his fellow resident British artists. These are contrasted with portraits of London's art establishment exploring the relationship between these young, ambitious artists in Rome and the Royal Academy at home.
The sketchbook and its drawings by various hands thus sheds light on a little-known yet particularly dynamic moment when a group of young artists revelled in the art and culture of Italy while seeking to advance the fortunes and potential of British art on a world stage.