Our first visitor, the writer and scholar Joseph Spence, acted as travelling tutor or “Bear Leader” on three grand tours between 1731 and 1741.   On the first he accompanied the dissolute nineteen-year old Charles Sackville, later Earl of Dorset who, according to Horace Walpole “was scarce sober all the time [he] was in Italy”.  While in Venice, Sackville was immortalized by the pastellist Rosalba Carriera, who took another portrait of Spence wearing a domino mask perched rakishly on the top of his hat, as if about to sortie for a masquerade. Spence’s letters to his widowed mother provide some of the most illuminating vignettes of the Grand Tour. Here he describes his arrival in Venice: