Early Modern Grand Tourer in Poland-Lithuania

Fiction or Real Possibility?


  • Jakub Basista Jagiellonian University, Kraków




grand tour, travel literature, early modern Poland -Lithuania


In the last fifty or so years, Grand Tour has become a very popular and extensively researched phenomenon. Although mainstream researchers have analyzed various aspects of the Grand Tour, they have tended to adopt a narrow definition limited to the experiences of young English gentlemen undertaking a study tour of Italy and France. This article poses a somewhat provocative question: was the Grand Tour feasible as a study tour of an English gentleman visiting Poland- Lithuania? Based on contemporary travel writing, the author reveals the challenges and the difficult logistics of such an undertaking.


Author Biography

Jakub Basista, Jagiellonian University, Kraków

Professor of history at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland. Specializes in early modern English, Polish and world histories. He is the author of two books and over one hundred publications. Fellow of Royal Historical Society. Member of: Renaissance Society of America, Society for Reformation Studies and International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History. Editor of Studia Historyczne.


Original prints:

A New Account of Poland and Lithuania Describing their Governments, Palatines, Provinces, Religion, Language, Habits, Festivals, Marriages, Funerals, Climate, Rivers, Salt Mines and other Rarities. Their Forces, Coins, Revenues, General and Particular Diets, Priviledges of their Nobility, Interregnum, and Ceremonies in the Election of their New King (London, 1702).

Coxe Willam, Travels into Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark. Interspersed with historical relations and political inquiries (London, 1784).

Hauteville [Gaspar de Tende] Le Sieur de, An Account of Poland Containing a Geographical Description of the Country, the Manners of Inhabitants, and the Wars they have been Engag’d in; the Constitution of that Government; Particularly the Manner of Electing and Crowning their King; his Power and Prerogative: With a Briefe History of the Tartars (London, 1698).

Lassels Richard, The Voyage of Italy, or a Compleat Journey Through Italy in Two Parts (Paris, 1670).

Marshall Joseph, Travels through Holland, Flanders, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Lapland, Russia, The Ukraine, and Poland in the Years 1768, 1769, and 1770. In which is particularly Minuted, The Present State of Those Countries, respecting their Agriculture, Population, Manufactures, Commerce, The Arts, and Useful Undertakings (London, 1772), vol. 3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.22872

O’Connor Bernard, The History of Poland (London, 1698).

Later prints and translations:

Fagiuoli Giovan Battista, Diariusz podróży do Polski (1690‑1691) (Warszawa: Muzeum Pałacu Króla Jana III w Wilanowie, 2017).

Gordon Patrick, The Diary of Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries, ed. Dmitri Fedosov (Aberdeen: The AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, 2009), vol. 1.

Ogier Karol (Charles), Dziennik podróży do Polski (Gdańsk: Biblioteka Miejska i Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauki i Sztuki, 1950).

Peyton John, Relation of the state of Polonia and the United Provinces of that Crown anno 1598 (Rome: Institutum Historicum Polonicum, 1965).

South Robert, Posthumous Works of the late Reverend Robert South, /…/ IV. An Account of his TRAVELS into Poland with the Earl of Rochester, in the Year of 1674 /…/ (London, 1717).

Wolf Heinrich, Peregrinationes sive peregrinatium Heinrichi Wolphii tigurini brevis et compendiaria descriptio (Warszawa: Zamek Królewski w Warszawie, 1996).

Secondary literature

Boutier Jean, ‘Le grand tour: une pratique d’éducation des noblesses européennes (XVIe‑XVIIIe siècles)’, Le voyage à l’époque modern, No. 27 (Paris: Presses del’Université de Paris Sorbonne, Cahiers de l’Association des Historiens modernistes des Universités, 2004), 7‑21.

Chaney Edward, ‘Richard Lassels [Lascelles] (c. 1603‑1668)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/16083. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/16083

Chynczewska‑Hennel Teresa, Rzeczpospolita XVII wieku w oczach cudzoziemców (Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków: Ossolineum, 1993).

Gilles Bertrand, ‘Le voyage et les usages de l’espace méditerranéen à l’époque du Grand Tour’, ILCEA, 28 (2017), online edn, March 2017, https://doi.org/10.4000/ilcea.4087. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/ilcea.4087

Gordon Alexander, Robert South, Dictionary of National Biography (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885‑1900), vol. 53, 275‑276.

Kelly Jason, ‘Reading the Grand Tour at a Distance: Archives and Datasets in Digital History’, The American Historical Review 122 (2) (April 2017), https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/122.2.451. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/122.2.451

Krysztopa‑Czupryńska Barbara, ‘Dyplomaci brytyjscy w podróżach przez ziemie Rzeczypospolitej w pierwszej połowie XVIII w. – warunki peregrynacji’, Via viatores quaerit: mobilność społeczna w dziejach krajów Grupy Wyszechradzkiej, ed. Agnieszka Teterycz‑Puzio, Lech Kościelak, Ewa Łączyńska (Słupsk, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Pomorskiej, 2016), 291‑300.

Naddeo Barbara Ann, ‘Cultural Capitals and Cosmopolitanism in Eighteenth Century Italy: The Historiography and Italy on the Grand Tour’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 10/2 (2005), https://doi.org/10.1080/13545710500111322. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13545710500111322

Raspe Rudolph Erich, The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen (The Project Gutenberg EBook, 2006), Chapter II, [gu003154.pdf – livrosgratis.com.br].

Redford Bruce, Venice and the Grand Tour (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 1996).

Ridolfi Roberto, The Life of Francesco Guicciardini (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968).

Trease Geoffrey, The Grand Tour (London: Heinemann, 1967). DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1792521

Tremblay Maeve Devitt, ‘The Princess and the Dwarf: Polish Perspectives on Collecting and the Grand Tour’, Journal for Eighteenth‑Century Studies, 41/1 (2018), 25‑42, https://doi.org/10.1111/1754‑0208.12505. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1754-0208.12505

Wilton‑Ely John, ‘Classic Ground: Britain, Italy, and the Grand Tour’, Eighteenth‑Century Life, 28/1 (2004), https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601‑28‑1‑136. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601-28-1-136




How to Cite

Basista, J. . (2021). Early Modern Grand Tourer in Poland-Lithuania: Fiction or Real Possibility?. Studia Historyczne, 61(4 (244), 5–16. https://doi.org/10.12797/SH.61.2018.04.01