We would like to introduce you to an intimate and fascinating museum that is relatively unknown to visitors of Florence. Most who come to the cradle of the Renaissance for the first time concentrate solely on the major museums. Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia and the Uffizi Gallery are the two main attractions for the majority of tourists.
InlovewithFlorence invites you to discover this jewel of a museum fought strongly for, in the beginning of the 1900s, by art historian and English collector Herbert Percy Horne. Upon his death in 1916, Horne left his collection of sculptures, paintings, designs, prints, and historic furniture to his adopted city.
H.P. Horne was born in London in 1864. He attended the Kensington Grammar School of London. After this education he became interested in the Italian Renaissance as he hung out with artists and intellectuals of the time that introduced him to the book “Studies in the History of the Renaissance” by Walter Pater (1873).
He chose to work in the field of architecture and began a collaboration with the architect A.H. Mackmurdo and became a partner in his studio between 1885-1890. Horne showed great talent in graphics and was a painter, fabric and wallpaper designer along with designing typographic characters and being a poet.
He fell in love with Italy while on vacation. He returned in 1894 to write a book on Sandro Botticelli for the editor G.Bell. In Florence, he met foreign intellectuals and artists of prestige like A.Boecklin, B.Berenson, and A.Hildebrand.
At the end of the century, he moved to Florence and became a member of the Society for the defense of ancient Florence and opposed the architectural destruction that came after the unification of Italy in 1861. He intensified his activity as an art consultant for museums and private clients which furthered his work as an art historian concentrating on the Italian Renaissance.
In 1911 Horne acquired Palazzo Corsi in the outskirts of town at the time, on the street Via dei Fossi which today is called Via de’ Benci. The elegant building, according to H.P. Horne, was designed by the renaissance architect Giuliano da Sangallo. The art historian chose the site after visiting many others and then renovated the building between 1911-1916. The renovation faithfully recreated a typical, upper-class, Florentine home. Due to this project, Horne intensified his acquisitions of antique furniture (of which he was already an expert) to furnish the palazzo with time period artifacts.
Two days before his death in 1916, Horne had his will drawn up in which he left his private collection including furniture, statues, painting and his entire library made up of 500 volume of manuscripts, incunabula, and “cinquecentine”.
It is this deep love of Florence that connects us here at InlovewithFlorence with Herbert Percy Horne. We hope that by learning more about him and this unique museum we have stirred in you a desire to visit and discover great works by top Renaissance artists such as Giotto, Beccafumi, Giambologna, Massaccio, Filippo Lippi, Dosso Dossi and Carnescchi. You will also find Renaissance period furniture like chairs, beds, chests and a crib along with ceramics, cauldrons, kitchen utensils as well as ancient playing cards, coins and seals.
What are you waiting for? Want to follow us inside? We certainly hope so.
Sito ufficiale del Museo Horne