Tours & Study Days With
Tom Duncan

Tom Duncan

Tom Duncan was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied, successively, Music and then History of Art with Ancient History and Archaeology. He moved to the United States in 1980 to research Late Antiquity and the Early Church. This formative experience brought him to Cambridge, England in 1984 to complete a Ph D on the influence of Early Christian Art on Baroque Painting in Rome. A period as a university lecturer followed, together with many invitations to lecture to organisations such as The Art Fund and The Arts Society (formerly NADFAS). Consequently, he began to lead tours over twenty years ago and in 1999, together with Stephen Brook, founded CICERONI Travel, now one of the UK's most respected independent cultural travel companies. When not lecturing or travelling, he devotes most of his time to gardening, music and opera, the other great interests in his life.



Image above: Dublin, The Old Library, Trinity College
Study Day

Horace walpole’s collection

Lost treasures of strawberry hill

Tuesday 5 February 2019
Strawberry Hill is one of the most well-known houses of the eighteenth century, an icon of Georgian taste. Its creator, Horace Walpole, was one of the most assiduous collectors of his time and a Study Day based around the truly ‘one-off’ exhibition will be an amazing opportunity to glimpse this privileged world.

Rome & the Grand Tour

Et in Arcadia Ego

Saturday 23 February - Friday 1 March 2019 (7 Days)
For two millennia Rome has dominated the culture of Europe and has fascinated generations of intelligent travellers from the British Isles, Europe and beyond. Arriving in Italy on ‘The Grand Tour’, the climax of this great adventure was a period spent in Rome; a journey of discovery we shall recreate in miniature, giving participants the perspective of a ‘Grand Tourist’ of the eighteenth century.
Study Day

Royalty & the Romanovs


Tuesday 5 March 2019
Since Peter the Great’s visit to London in 1698, the relationship between Britain and Russia and their royal families has been long and enduring. The Royal Collection’s new exhibition features portraits, sculpture, photographs, archival documents and miniature masterpieces by Fabergé, illustrating historic events and family meetings between the rulers of Britain and Russia. Tom Duncan will give two lectures followed by an afternoon visit to the Queen's Gallery.

art & music in Munich

The Wittelsbachs

Wednesday 20 - Monday 25 March 2019 (6 Days)
Discover the extraordinary story of the Wittelsbach Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria as we explore their varied and remarkable patronage of music, architecture and the visual arts. Three palaces, wonderful museums and a chance to attend up to three operas – Puccini’s La fanciula de West, Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux and Wagner’s Parsifal.

Spring Gardens of Ireland

Celtic Blossoms

Wednesday 24 April - Friday 3 May 2019 (10 Days)
For sheer theatrical impact, the massed ranks of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias found in Ireland’s spring gardens is hard to beat. Iconic gardens such as Mount Congreve, Fota, Birr Castle Demesne, Kilmacurragh, Powercourt and that jewel of jewels, Mount Stewart will all be included. Based at very comfortable hotels including the renowned Ballymaloe House, this may very well be the ultimate post-winter tonic?
Study Day


National Portrait Gallery

Wednesday 8 May 2019
Late spring will see the National Portrait Gallery host the first major exhibition on Tudor and Jacobean portrait miniatures for over thirty-five years. This irresistible opportunity will be the focus of our Study Day Elizabethan Treasures, led by Tom Duncan.

villas & gardens of lazio

popes & princes at rest

Wednesday 22 - Monday 27 May 2019 (6 Days)
The villas and gardens of Lazio are without parallel in Italy: from Hadrian’s Imperial retreat near Tivoli to renaissance masterpieces at Villa d’Este, Bomarzo, Villa Lante and Caprarola; to the greatest of modern gardens at Ninfa and Landriana, every style and taste can be found. These oases of beauty, together with several private gardens not open to the public, will both stimulate and enchant.

Castile & the Formation of Spain

Spanish Adventure

Tuesday 4 - Friday 14 June 2019 (11 Days)
Modern Spain was born in Castile, the strongest of the medieval Iberian kingdoms. Its verdant landscapes, military endeavours and religious fervour shaped not only its cities but also the Spanish character, its approach to the arts and its cuisine, to all of which this tour will introduce you. From Roman villas to medieval cathedrals and wonderful palaces, a treasure trove awaits.

Houses & Gardens of Cork


Sunday 23 - Friday 28 June 2019 (6 Days)
Co Cork has some of the most beautiful houses and gardens of south-west Ireland, many not open to the public. However, this visit will concern itself not just with food for the eye, mind and soul but with food for the body as we shall stay at the renowned Ballymaloe House Hotel.

Edinburgh & its Hinterland

A Scottish Surprise

Sunday 14 - Friday 19 July 2019 (6 Days)
Edinburgh’s fame as the 'Athens of the North' rests on strong foundations reflected in works of the many intellectuals, architects and artists who lived and worked in the city. Through visits to the great museums, art galleries, the city’s famed Botanic Gardens and forays into the surrounding countryside when we visit a number of marvellous private houses, this will be an Edinburgh full of endless surprises.

Treasure Houses of the Tweed Valley

A Scottish Surprise

Sunday 21 - Friday 26 July 2019 (6 Days)
Organised for the Patrons & Friends of Banbury Museum. The handsome castles and houses, art collections and wonderful gardens of Scotland's 'Border' country are not widely known. Our visit will be an unrivalled introduction to magnificent treasures, many of which are not often seen by the public and where we shall be entertained privately in some style!

Music & Gardens in Sussex

The Glyndebourne Festival

Monday 5 - Friday 9 August 2019 (5 Days)
Glyndeboune is synonymous with all that represents excellence in the musical traditions of Great Britain. Thus, it is with great pleasure that we offer members of our own list the opportunity to enjoy this unique Festival supported by a programme of visits to some os Sussex's most interesting houses and gardens.

Exploring ulster

Quis seperabit

Sunday 1 - Sunday 8 September 2019 (8 Days)
Quis Seperabit - ‘who shall separate’ is a motto much connected with Irish history, drawing attention to the many links between Britain and Ireland over the centuries. Discover how these links have shaped Ulster, ancient and modern, as we explore its remarkable history, its wonderful scenery and above all its private and hidden treasures in city and country.

Villas & Gardens on Como & Lugano

Lakeside Idyll

Thursday 12 - Wednesday 18 September 2019 (7 Days)
Combine Alpine peaks with cool lake water, garlanded with stunning noble lakeside villas and exquisite gardens and what comes to mind – the Italian lakes? Our new tour of Lakes Como and Lugano includes not only some of the best known villas and gardens but most are completely new to our itineraries and three of these are quite exceptional private visits.

Connoisseurs’ venice

Patricians & Painters

Monday 11 - Saturday 16 November 2019 (6 Days)
Be you a novice or seasoned visit to Venice, we offer a privileged introduction to this magical city: palaces that are not open to the public; St Mark’s and its mosaics, seen privately at night; magical Torcello, “a positive ecstasy of melancholia” as Jan Morris described it; art galleries for the connoisseur – all seen at a time when the city is at its most quiet and serene.
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Tours & Study Days