This was originally a Society of young noblemen and gentlemen who had visited Italy and gone on the Grand Tour. It started purely as a social club, but from 1732 members met regularly. Their interest included the architectural and archaeological remains of Greece, the Near East and Italy, and significantly, from the 1750s, they promoted an English Academy of Painting and Sculpture, which ultimately led to the formation of the Royal Academy. From their earliest meetings the Society appointed a painter, among whom were Knapton (the first one), Reynolds, Leighton, Sargent, etc. These papers consist of Minute Books from 1736, Manuscripts Letter Books from 1736 – 1866, and General Papers, Accounts, etc. The records provide an important record of intellectual life in the 18th – 19th centuries.

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Reference: DIL