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Records of the Society of Dilettanti

Reference code
Records of the Society of Dilettanti
18th-21st century
Level of description
Scope and content
"In the year 1734 some gentlemen who had travelled in Italy, desirous of encouraging at home a taste for those objects which had contributed so much to their entertainment abroad, formed themselves into a society under the name of the Dilettanti, and agreed upon such resolutions as they thought necessary to keep up the spirit of the scheme." Ionian Antiquities (1769).

The date of foundation of the Society of Dilettanti remains uncertain, largely due to the fact that no regular minute books were started until 1736, however it is probable that the first meeting of the Society took place in December 1732. The records deposited thus date from 1732 (a volume listing the members of the Society) and continue until the early 21st century, with more accruals possible.

For a comprehensive study of the Society see History of the Society of Dilettanti, Lionel Cust, 1898 (reprinted 1914). See also The Society of Dilettanti, Cecil Harcourt Smith, 1932 (copy on indefinite loan to the Society of Antiquaries) and The Society of Dilettanti, its History, Brinsley Ford, 1977.
Society of Dilettanti
Archival history
The archive of the Dilettanti Society was deposited at the Society of Antiquaries in 1972.
In 1988 most of the archive (1732-1900) was microfilmed. Copies of the complete microfilm are in the Royal Academy Library and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The Society of Antiquaries does not have the facility for viewing of microfilms.
Conditions governing access
Permission of the Society of Dilettanti is required to access their archive. Please contact the Archivist of the Society of Antiquaries who will facilitate this.