John-Mark Philo

John-Mark Philo

Deborah Loeb Brice Fellow
English and Scottish Scholars at Italian Libraries (1500–1700)


John-Mark, originally from Glasgow, completed his studies at Oxford and comes to Villa I Tatti fresh from the University of East Anglia, where he undertook a Leverhulme Fellowship on the Renaissance reception of Roman history. He is especially interested in early modern engagements with the classics, from vernacular translations of Greek and Roman works to the Renaissance debates over the status and rights of women which drew from ancient precedents. This means that he is typically to be found in libraries and archives, examining manuscripts and correspondence and trying his best to decipher early-modern marginalia.

Project Summary

Throughout the early modern period, English and Scottish poets, scientists, and antiquarians travelled to Italy, pursuing their studies at the universities and undertaking diplomatic missions on behalf of the English and Scottish crowns. They also frequented, however, the vast private libraries of northern and central Italy. These scholars left their mark on the Italian collections, annotating manuscripts, trading texts, and making contributions of their very own to these libraries. This project aims to excavate the unstudied works of Anglo-Scottish authorship now extant in Italian archives, locating them within the scholarly and collaborative contexts from which they emerged. The project will thus have important implications for how we understand the transmission of both ideas and physical texts across national borders, from the exchange and study of Arabic scholarship to the Elizabethan spy networks at work in cinquecento Italy. There is, without exaggeration, a treasure-trove of material concerning Italian and Anglo-Scottish relations and scholarship preserved in the libraries of Florence, Bologna, Venice, and Milan, to which this project seeks to do justice.