William Aglionby

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

William Aglionby (c. 1642 – 1705) was an English physician, known also as an art historian, translator and diplomat.


It has been inferred that he was the son of George Aglionby, who was tutor to William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire from 1629, and who married Sibella Smith in 1635, dying in 1643. He had an M.D. degree from the University of Bordeaux.[1] Fluency in French later caused him trouble when claiming to be English in France.[2]

Aglionby was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1667.[3] From 1669 to 1671 he acted as tutor for Sir Andrew Henley, 1st Baronet and then for Robert Paston, 1st Earl of Yarmouth.[4][5] In 1679 he was secretary to Sir William Temple at The Hague.[3]

During the 1680s Aglionby was in practice in London as a physician. He was based in Broad Street, and was licensed by the Royal College of Physicians in 1687. At this period he took an active part in the Royal Society.[1]

In 1698 Aglionby was attempting to negotiate a postal treaty with the French Farmer-General of Posts, in Calais.[3] Other diplomatic postings were to Madrid, Turin and Zurich.[6]

Aglionby's associates included James Brydges,[7] Abraham Hill,[8] and Matthew Prior.[9]


Aglionby's major work was Painting Illustrated in Three Diallogues [sic] (1685).[1] It has been described as the first original English book of its kind, based on the theory that Italian history painting was the leading genre of art;[10] it contained eleven biographies of Italian painters.[11]

Aglionby used Giorgio Vasari's Lives, but selectively, and imposing his own views.[12][13] He began with lives of Cimabue and Giotto, interpolating in the series then a dialogue on the history of painting. There followed: Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea del Sarto, Raphael, Giorgione, Michelangelo, Giulio Romano, Pierino del Vaga, Titian and Donatello.[14] Other sources used include Gian Pietro Bellori and Carlo Cesare Malvasia.[15] Dismissive of Nicolas Poussin, Aglionby mentions favourably if not at length four artists from northern Europe: Dürer, Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck.[16] The two latter were among the 12 Vite of Bellori, from which he borrows heavily.[17]

From a nationalistic point of view, Aglionby pointed to a revival of the arts at the Restoration of 1660, and promoted the painter John Riley, and the sculptor Grinling Gibbons.[18][19] As apologetics for English art, which had not contributed to history painting, he argued for its success in portrait painting.[20]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Craig Ashley Hanson (15 May 2009). The English Virtuoso: Art, Medicine, and Antiquarianism in the Age of Empiricism. University of Chicago Press. pp. 94–6. ISBN 978-0-226-31587-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Sir William Trumbull in Paris 1685–1686. CUP Archive. p. 96. GGKEY:UZA45ZPKLNP.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Royal Society database, Aglionby; William (c 1642 – 1705).
  4. Cambridge University Library; Churchill Babington; Charles Cardale Babington; John Thomas Abdy, William Reynolds Collett, John Henry Webster, John Glover, William Wayman Hutt, Thomas Bendyshe, George Williams, Charles Brodrick Scott, John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor, Edward Ventris (1856). A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge: Ed. for the Syndics of the University Press. University Press. pp. 457–.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. John Robertson (2 November 2006). A Union for Empire: Political Thought and the British Union of 1707. Cambridge University Press. p. 40 note 14. ISBN 978-0-521-02988-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Jeremy Black (1 January 2001). British Diplomats and Diplomacy, 1688–1800. University of Exeter Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-85989-613-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Brian William Cowan (1 November 2005). The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse. Yale University Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-300-13350-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer. R. Baldwin. 1767. p. 234.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Anna Marie Roos (12 July 2011). Web of Nature: Martin Lister (1639–1712), the First Arachnologist. BRILL. p. 381. ISBN 978-90-04-20703-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Craig Ashley Hanson (15 May 2009). The English Virtuoso: Art, Medicine, and Antiquarianism in the Age of Empiricism. University of Chicago Press. pp. 93–. ISBN 978-0-226-31587-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Patrick Doorly (30 August 2013). Truth About Art, The. John Hunt Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-78099-841-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Philip Lindsay Sohm (2007). The Artist Grows Old: The Aging of Art and Artists in Italy, 1500–1800. Yale University Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-300-12123-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Professor David Cast (28 February 2014). The Ashgate Research Companion to Giorgio Vasari. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 290. ISBN 978-1-4724-1392-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. John Rigby Hale (17 February 2009). England and the Italian Renaissance: The Growth of Interest in its History and Art. John Wiley & Sons. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-4051-5222-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. conte Carlo Cesare Malvasia (2000). Malvasia's Life of the Carracci: Commentary and Translation. Penn State Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-271-01899-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Craig Ashley Hanson (15 May 2009). The English Virtuoso: Art, Medicine, and Antiquarianism in the Age of Empiricism. University of Chicago Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-226-31587-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Giovanni Pietro Bellori (21 November 2005). Giovan Pietro Bellori: The Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors and Architects: A New Translation and Critical Edition. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-521-78187-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Kevin Sharpe (6 June 2013). Reading Authority and Representing Rule in Early Modern England. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 204–. ISBN 978-1-4411-5675-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Stewart, J. Douglas. "Riley, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23651.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  20. Homi K. Bhabha (13 May 2013). Nation and Narration. Routledge. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-136-76930-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. C. D. Van Strien (1993). British Travellers in Holland During the Stuart Period: Edward Browne and John Locke As Tourists in the United Provinces. Brill. p. 44. ISBN 90-04-09482-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>