Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday primary source #15 - 18th century Italian correspondence

Letters from the Court of Modena (Bologna) to Narciso Calcagni in Reggio, Italy, 1737-1744.

Coreggio Torella, Giocon da
Manuscript/Archive: 71 letters.
In Italian
Special Collections: Misc 330

Description from the catalog record:
Modena became the center of the noble family Este in the 16th century, after they lost their original center of Ferrara. Modena blossomed in this period, becoming a center for culture and the arts. By the 18th century the prestige of both the city and the family had waned; from 1703-07 Modena was occupied by French troops, and from 1742-49 by Austrian troops.
The letters discuss everyday matters of court life, such as the purchase of clothes and art, and Torella's family life. The later letters (from 1743) make reference to the Austrian occupation.
Coreggio Torella was a member of the Court of the Duchess of Modena, Carlotta Aglae di Bourbon. Possibly he was groom of the chambers. The Duchess, who is the subject of many of the letters, was the daughter of Philippe II d'Orleans, and the wife of Francesco d'Este, whom she married in 1720. Her son, Ercole, was the last of the male line of the noble Italian family.
From the dispersed library of Bar. Horace Finaly Landau, in Florence. Purchased by Stanford, 1977.

These could be a great source for a seminar paper, or a larger project on 18th century court and home life.

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brought to you by...
Sarah Sussman, curator of French and Italian Collections