Connoisseur and Diplomat

C.V. Wedgwood recounts the circumstances the Earl of Arundel’s Embassy to Germany in 1636 as recounted in William Crowne’s Diary, the Earl’s letters and other contemporary sources.

King Charles I was peerless among European sovereigns as a collector and patron of the arts. It was characteristic that in choosing an Ambassador to represent him at the Imperial Diet at Regensburg in 1636 he selected the Earl of Arundel, who enjoyed international fame as a connoisseur and had almost no experience of diplomacy.

The story of this embassy—fascinating as art history, deplorable as politics—has been put together by Dr. Springell with generous quotations from contemporary sources and fifty beautiful drawings by Wenceslaus Hollar who accompanied the mission.

The book throws much light on seventeenth-century methods of collecting and on Arundel’s generous and patriarchal conduct towards his proteges. But for all the effect his mission had on the international scene, he might just as well have stayed at home.

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