Journal Article

Sir Isaac Wake, Venice and art collecting in early Stuart England

Susan Bracken and Robert Hill

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 183-198
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhr020
Sir Isaac Wake, Venice and art collecting in early Stuart England

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Despite a number of publications on the artistic activities of the Jacobean ambassadors to Venice, Sir Henry Wotton and Sir Dudley Carleton, little notice has been taken of Sir Isaac Wake during his embassy to the Serene Republic (1624-9). A newly discovered document, however, reveals that in 1626 Wake purchased seventeen Venetian paintings, on behalf of his father-in-law Sir Edward Conway, ultimately intended as a gift to the royal favourite George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, of which eight came from the celebrated Gonzaga collection. Most of these were subsequently displayed at York House, the Duke's show-house in London. In addition to his involvement in the purchase and dispatch of the first part of the Mantuan collection to England in 1628-9, the ambassador also assisted the activities of the agents of Charles I sent out to Italy to augment the royal collection. Wake himself had no interest in, and little knowledge of, works of art and acted only reluctantly on behalf of his patrons at the early Stuart court.

Journal Article.  14831 words. 

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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