Palazzo Barbaro and Henry James
Photograph of Henry James by prominent American photographer Alice Broughton, taken sometime before 1916.
The location with the most literary connections (except, perhaps, Caffé Florian on St Marks Square) is perhaps the
Palazzo Barbaro - or, more correctly, the Palazzi Barbaro. These two adjoining palaces are
located on the Grand Canal close to the Ponte dell'Accademia in the San
Constructed in Venetian Gothic style in 1425, the palazzo was
bought by Zaccaria Barbaro, Procurator of San Marco, in 1465 and
extended by descendants of the family in 1694 in the baroque style. In 1881 the older palazzo was rented by Daniel Sargent Curtis, a
relative of the American painter John Singer Sargent.
Daniel and Ariana
Curtis subsequently bought the Palazzo in 1885 and for many years it
became the hub of American and expatriate artistic life in the city. Their many visitors included Edith Wharton, Claude Monet, Robert Browning and Henry James, who finished The Aspern Papers at a desk which remains in the palace today.