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Presentation of the new book on the Italian Embassy in London

foto di gruppo presentazione s mancusoweb
From left: Cecilia Treves, Maria Sancho-Arroyo Puliti, Karen Lawrence Terracciano, Sabrina Corbo, Amb. Pasquale Terracciano, Mario Tavella, Umberto Allemandi. Pictures by Salvatore Mancuso

A publication on the diplomatic, artistic and architectural history of the Embassy of Italy in London, presented in partnership with experts from Sotheby’s and Allemandi publishing house.

The Italian Embassy in London
, a new book published by Umberto Allemandi publishing house in collaboration with Sotheby’s, was presented this evening at the embassy to a large audience made up of representatives of the world of culture and art lovers.

The book examines the recent history of the diplomatic mission, since its move to its current address at 4 Grosvenor Square. The book is published in two language versions, Italian and English, and includes sections dedicated to the embassy’s art collection, the architecture of the building, and the history of bilateral relations since 1932.

The ambassador, Pasquale Terracciano, told guests how he and his wife, Karen Lawrence Terracciano, launched the project in order to immortalise the historical and cultural legacy of the embassy by reconstructing its diplomatic, architectural and artistic history.

Ambassador Terracciano also pointed out the importance of the collection not only in terms of its artistic value but also in terms of the prestige that it confers and its role in projecting Italian soft power in the UK, a crucial consideration at the current historic juncture.

The book offers an in-depth analysis of the art collection, the result of rigorous research by numerous experts from Sotheby’s under the guidance of Mario Tavella, the auction house’s Europe chairman, and Maria Sancho-Arroyo Puliti, one of its directors. Michael Hall was responsible for the sections on the building’s architectural history, and the majority of the photographs are by Massimo Listri, who has contributed to photographic books on the art and architecture of many Italian institutional buildings. The preface, by Sergio Romano, offers a number of historical observations about the embassy and bilateral relations. The publication of the book was made possible by the support of Green Network Energy and Intesa Sanpaolo.

A concrete example of soft power at play, he said, was the return of Venus, attributed to Botticelli’s workshop, to the UK last year for the first time in over 70 years. The painting, which was part of the embassy’s collection from 1934 to 1940, was loaned by the Sabauda Gallery in Turin to the Victoria and Albert Museum for the exhibition Botticelli Reimagined, where it was one of the highlights.

The ambassador’s speech was followed by a speech by Umberto Allemandi, the head of Allemandi publishing house, which published the book. He discussed some of the key moments of the project and the collaboration with the embassy and Sotheby’s.

Mario Tavella concluded his presentation by discussing a number of selected pieces in the collection, explaining the research done on them and the discoveries made during the study of documents from the archives of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Copies of the book, published in limited edition, were sold, with proceeds going to the Italian School in London (SIAL).

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