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The British Institute of Florence celebrates its centenary at the Italian Embassy in London



The British Institute of Florence celebrates its centenary at the Italian Embassy in London

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Prof. Boudreau of the British Institute of Florence, at the Italian Embassy, holding his lecture on "Renaissance Tapestries and Textiles Diplomacy". Picture - Federico Zonno.

In 2017 the British Institute of Florence celebrates the hundredth anniversary of its foundation, which was commemorated yesterday evening with an event hosted by the Embassy of Italy in London.

Professor Jeremy Boudreau, the director of the Institute's History of Art department, gave the inaugural Harold Acton lecture, on "Renaissance Tapestries and Textiles Diplomacy" regarding the Medici family's collection of Italian Spalliere tapestries, which are on loan from the Palazzo Pitti Museum and on show at the embassy. Following the lecture, the guests were able to admire them at first hand in the State dining room. Professor Bourdeau discussed the history of the tapestries and explained their political and economic significance at the time of the Medicis.

The talk was preceded by a welcome speech by Ambassador Terracciano, in which he thanked the British Institute and its director, Julia Race, for the work and effort over the past century promoting cultural exchanges between Italy and the English-speaking world. This was the first in a series of annual lectures organised by the British Institute of Florence and dedicated to Harold Acton (1904-1994), a British intellectual who was born in Florence and wrote three volumes on the history of the Medicis and the Bourbons.

The British Institute of Florence is a cultural institution offering a variety of educational art courses in both Italian and English to students of all ages. Founded in 1917 and granted the Royal Charter in 1923, it was the first British cultural institute to open outside the UK. The British Council used it as a model when it opened in 1934.

British Institute of Florence


dsc 1326webThe State dining room with the Medicean Spalliere tapestries. Picture - Federico Zonno.