In this acclaimed 10 part series, Brian Sewell follows in the footsteps of young 18th century English aristocrats, whose education was incomplete without a Grand Tour of Italy. His epic journey takes him, by various means, to Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Pompeii, Turin, Milan, Cremona, Siena, Bologna, Vicenza, Paestum, Urbino and Tivoli, via Michelangelo, Raphael, Vesuvius and much else besides.
The first ten minutes of the first episode I spent helplessly giggling, for Sewell speaks the most exaggerated Oxford English imaginable. Indeed, he has been described as having “the poshest voice in Britain” (hee), and the Welsh journalist Desmond John Humphrys wrote about him, “[he is] the only man I have ever met who makes the Queen sound common.” He has been an art critic for the London Evening Standard since 1984 and has won several journalistic prizes for his weekly columns.
Not surprisingly, art plays an important role in his Grand Tour as the appreciation of Italian art formed also an important part of the young English aristocrat’s journey more than 200 years ago. Yet the viewer does not only get to admire the mighty domes of Italian cathedrals, but also learns about the discussions of 18th-century tourists in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence,
As you can see, Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour is highly informative, saucy, and witty, and all in all great fun. I can highly recommend it!
To give you an idea about Sewell in action, here’s a snippet from episode 3; Sewell is in Florence, in the Palazzo Pitti, to be exact, and talks about the last Medici. Enjoy!!!