Fernando Agnoletti

Academic and writer

Fernando Agnoletti (1875–1933) was an Italian writer and journalist, born in Florence.

Agnoletti fought with Garibaldi's volunteers in Greece in 1897. From 1902 to 1910 he was the first lecturer in Italian Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow. While there he founded the Dante Alighieri Society, the first such group in Britain, and gave public lectures on subjects including the Italian Renaissance. He assisted with the preparations for the Scottish section at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art (1902), probably as translator. A close friendship developed with the Mackintoshes. Mackintosh became godson to his son, Braccio Robert Obermann Tosh Agnoletti (b. 1905), for whom he designed a set of cutlery, and Agnoletti accumulated a small collection of Mackintosh designs. 1 In 1905, well-illustrated articles by him on the Willow Tea Rooms and The Hill House were published in international journals. 2 These undoubtedly drew on personal discussions with the Mackintoshes and first-hand knowledge of the projects.

On his return to Italy he wrote for journals including La Voce and Lacerba in Florence. After fighting in the First World War as a volunteer he joined the Fasci of Revolutionary Action with other intellectuals and artists and he frequented the Giubbe Rosse café in Florence. He was Chair of the Florence branch of the Association of Ex-Servicemen and supervised Fascist journals (Noi and L'Aratro). He subsequently held various roles within the Fascist Party, for which he wrote ABC of the Young Fascist (1931). His other publications included From the Garden to the Isonzo (1917) (a collection of his writings from La Voce) and The Drone of Poetry (1930).

Notes:

1: Cutlery design, Coll. The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: GLAHA 41937; cutlery sold at auction, Christie's, London, British Decorative Arts, 8 June 1993 lot 120, together with several items of furniture. Agnoletti also owned the two perspectives of Auchinibert Coll. The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, GLAHA 46433 and 55475.

2: 'The Hill House Helensburgh', Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, 15, 1904–5, pp. 337–59; 'Ein Mackintosh Teehaus in Glasgow', Dekorative Kunst, 12, April 1905, pp. 257–75, p. 264.