Dashing and dandy and chasing the candy. In Paris and Rome the young aristocrats of the eighteenth century quickly sought out, and made rich those teachers those teachers who specialized in adding grace to the gifts which nature had bestowed. They went to the dancing masters with their elaborate manuals to learn not only the proper steps but the etiquette of the ballroom. This included how to doff a hat, maintain a flawless line in gesture and movement, and how to bow in courtly salute of a lady.
The fencing master improved their agility and co-ordination, and taught them such techniques as the use of sword and dagger or cloak and lantern. And though they already knew how to ride, it was on the Continent that they learned the refinements of ”haute ecole” horsemanship. This style was totally useless for riding to the hounds, but it might enable them to cut a dashing figure in the calvary. They were also expected to learn the arts of love, but for that they found eager instructresses everywhere.
”As the female part of the world has some influence, and often too much, over the male, your conduct with regard to women (I mean women of fashion, for I cannot suppose you capable of conversing with any others) deserves some share in your reflections. They are a numerous and loquacious body: their hatred would be more prejudicial than their friendship can be advantageous to you. A general complaisance and attention to that sex is therefore established by custom, and certainly necessary. But where you would particularly please anyone, whose situation, interest, or connections, can be of use to you, you must show particular preference. The least attentions please, the greatest charm them The innocent but pleasing flattery of their persons,however gross, is greedily swallowed and kindly digested: but a seeming regard for their understandings, a seeming desire of, and deference for, their advice, together with a seeming confidence in their moral virtues, turns their heads entirely in your favor. Nothing shocks them so much as the least appearance of that contempt which they are apt to suspect men of entertaining of their capacities; and you may be very sure of gaining their friendship if you seem to think it worth gaining. Here dissimulation is very often necessary, and even simulation sometimes allowable; which, as it pleases them, may, be useful to you, and is injurious to nobody.” ( Lord Chesterfield Letters to His Son )
An orgy of spending marked the end of the Grand Tour when paintings an statuary by the ton were sent home as souvenirs. Having one’s portrait painted abroad was essential, and canvases such as the one being crated in Watteau’s ”Sign of the Gersaint” would soon hang on the walls of the family mansion.
The avid collector Charles Towneley bought everything in sight when the contents of Hadrian’s villa were dispersed, and then celebrated the feat by having the painter Zoffany cram the entire collection into a single canvas.These marbles and terra cottas later enriched the British Museum. But like any other form of education, the Grand Tour had its lamentable failures.Clearly, all did not respond to the educational values of the Grand Tour. While some young men collected art, others merely pickup up habits, and came home in a state that left their parents aghast. They were now ready for membership in London’s ”Macaroni Club”, but little else.
”As you are now in a musical country, where singing, fiddling, and piping, are not only the common topics of conversation, but almost the principal objects of attention, I cannot help cautioning you against giving in to those (I will call them illiberal) pleasures (though music is commonly reckoned one of the liberal arts) to the degree that most of your countrymen do, when they travel in Italy. If you love music, hear
part in a concert, with a fiddle under your chin, or a pipe in your mouth.” ( Lord Chesterfield )