Image of painting titled Egyptian Life

Americans Abroad

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many affluent Americans appreciated nature and landscapes beyond the borders of America.  They had the wealth to travel abroad for business as well as for pleasure.  As was typical of their English counterparts, wealthy Americans took extended “Grand Tours” of Europe.  These included visits to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland. 

Long stays in Rome and Paris were often arranged.  Most collected souvenirs to remind them of the places they had visited.  As a young woman, Julia Parmly Billings did the Grand Tour with her mother and visited art museums in Dresden, Florence, Venice, and London.  In her 1855 travel journal Julia wrote “… we saw such scores of fine pictures, that I must content myself with marking in the catalogue those that most impressed us… Leaving at 2 1/2 we came home, rested, then went to the porcelain store… where we bought large and small busts.” 


Image of painting titled Landscape with Peasants

Image of painting titled Brittany Beach