English Book Collectors
by William Younger Fletcher
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'With exception of the Collection of His Majesty George the Third, the Library of the British Museum has never received an accession so important in every respect as the Collection of the Right Honourable Thomas Grenville.... Formed and preserved with the exquisite taste of an accomplished bibliographer, with the learning of a profound and elegant scholar, and the splendid liberality of a gentleman in affluent circumstances, who employed in adding to his library whatever his generous heart allowed him to spare from silently relieving those whose wants he alone knew, this addition to the National Library places it in some respects above all libraries known, in others it leaves it inferior only to the Royal Library at Paris. An idea may be formed of the literary value of Mr. Grenville's Library by referring to its pecuniary value; it consists of 20,240 volumes, forming about 16,000 works, which cost upwards of L54,000, and would sell for more now. During his lifetime, Mr. Grenville's library was most liberally rendered accessible to any person, however humble his condition in life, who could show the least cause for asking the loan of any of his precious volumes. By bequeathing the whole to his country, Mr. Grenville has secured to literary men, even after his death, that assistance, as far as it relates to the use of his books, which he so generously bestowed on them in every way during his long and dignified career:—the career of a man of high birth, distinguished for uniting to a powerful and cultivated intellect a warm and benevolent heart.'

Sir Anthony Panizzi, in describing the contents of the collection, adds: 'It would naturally be expected that one of the editors of the "Adelphi Homer" would lose no opportunity of collecting the best and rarest editions of the Prince of Poets. AEsop, a favourite author of Mr. Grenville, occurs in his Library in its rarest forms; there is no doubt that the series of editions of this author in that library is unrivalled. The great admiration which Mr. Grenville felt for Cardinal Ximenes, even more on account of the splendid edition of the Polyglot Bible which that prelate caused to be printed at Alcala, than of his public character, made him look upon the acquisition of the Moschus, a book of extreme rarity, as a piece of good fortune. Among the extremely rare editions of the Latin Classics, in which the Grenville Library abounds, the unique complete copy of Azzoguidi's first edition of Ovid is a gem well deserving particular notice, and was considered, on the whole, by Mr. Grenville himself, the boast of his collection. The Aldine Virgil of 1505, the rarest of the Aldine editions of this poet, is the more welcome to the Museum, as it serves to supply a lacuna; the copy mentioned in the Catalogue of the Royal Collection not having been transferred to the National Library.

'The rarest editions of English Poets claimed and obtained the special attention of Mr. Grenville. Hence we find him possessing not only the first and second edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Caxton, but the only copy known of a hitherto undiscovered edition of the same work printed in 1498 by Wynkyn de Worde. Of Shakespeare's collected Dramatic Works, the Grenville Library contains a copy of the first edition, which, if not the finest known, is at all events surpassed by none. His strong religious feelings, and his sincere attachment to the Established Church, as well as his mastery and knowledge of the English Language, concurred in making him eager to possess the earliest, as well as the rarest, editions of the translations of the Scriptures in the vernacular tongue. He succeeded to a great extent; but what deserves particular mention is the only known fragment of the New Testament in English, translated by Tyndale and Roy, which was in the press of Quentell, at Cologne, in 1525, when the printers were obliged to interrupt the printing, and fly to escape persecution.

'The History of the British Empire, and whatever could illustrate any of its different portions, were the subject of Mr. Grenville's unremitting research, and he allowed nothing to escape him deserving to be preserved, however rare and expensive. Hence his collection of works on the Divorce of Henry VIII.; that of Voyages and Travels, either by Englishmen, or to countries at some time more or less connected with England, or possessed by her; that of contemporary works on the gathering, advance, and defeat of the "Invincible Armada"; and that of writings on Ireland,—are more numerous, more valuable, and more interesting than in any other collection ever made by any person on the same subjects. Among the Voyages and Travels, the collections of De Bry and Hulsius are the finest in the world; no other library can boast of four such fine books as the copies of Hariot's Virginia, in Latin, German, French, and English of the De Bry series. And it was fitting that in Mr. Grenville's library should be found one of the only two copies known of the first edition of this work, printed in London in 1588, wherein an account is given of a colony which had been founded by his family namesake, Sir Richard Grenville.

'Conversant with the language and literature of Spain, as well as with that of Italy, the works of imagination by writers of those two countries are better represented in his library than in any other out of Spain and Italy; in some branches better even than in any single library in the countries themselves. No Italian collection can boast of such a splendid series of early editions of Ariosto's Orlando, one of Mr. Grenville's favourite authors, nor, indeed, of such choice Romance Poems. The copy of the first edition of Ariosto is not to be matched for beauty; of that of Rome, 1533, even the existence was hitherto unknown. A perfect copy of the first complete edition of the Morgante Maggiore of 1482, was also not known to exist before Mr. Grenville succeeded in procuring his. Among the Spanish Romances, the copy of that of "Tirant lo Blanch," printed at Valencia in 1490, is as fine, as clean, and as white as when it first issued from the press; and no second copy of this edition of a work professedly translated from English into Portuguese, and thence into Valencian, is known to exist except in the library of the Sapienza at Rome.

'But where there is nothing common, it is almost depreciating a collection to enumerate a few articles as rare. It is a marked feature of this library, that Mr. Grenville did not collect mere bibliographical rarities. He never aimed at having a complete set of the editions from the press of Caxton or Aldus; but Chaucer and Gower by Caxton were readily purchased, as well as other works which were desirable on other accounts, besides that of having issued from the press of that printer; and, when possible, select copies were procured. Some of the rarest, and these the finest, Aldine editions were purchased by him for the same reasons. The Horae in Greek, printed by Aldus in 16mo in 1497, is a volume which, from its language, size, and rarity, is of the greatest importance for the literary and religious history of the time when it was printed. It is, therefore, in Mr. Grenville's library. The Virgil of 1501 is not only an elegant book, but it is the first book printed with that peculiar Italic, known as Aldine, and the first volume which Aldus printed, "forma enchiridii," as he called it, being expressly adapted to give poor scholars the means of purchasing for a small sum the works of the classical writers. This also is, therefore, among Mr. Grenville's books; and of one of the two editions of Virgil, both dated the same year, 1514, he purchased a large paper copy, because it was the more correct of the two.

'It was the merit of the work, the elegance of the volume, the "genuine" condition of the copy, etc., which together determined Mr. Grenville to purchase books printed on vellum, of which he collected nearly a hundred. He paid a very large sum for a copy of the Furioso of 1532, not because it was "on ugly vellum," as he very properly designated it, but because, knowing the importance of such an edition of such a work, and never having succeeded in procuring it on paper, he would rather have it on expensive terms and "ugly vellum," than not at all.

'By the bequest of Mr. Grenville's library, the collection of books printed on vellum now at the Museum, and comprising those formerly presented by George II., George III., and Mr. Cracherode, is believed to surpass that of any other National Library, except the King's Library at Paris, of which Van Praet justly speaks with pride, and all foreign competent and intelligent judges with envy and admiration. Injustice to the Grenville Library, the list of all its vellum books ought here to be inserted. As this cannot be done, some only of the most remarkable shall be mentioned. These are—the Greek Anthology of 1494; the Book of Hawking, of Juliana Berners, of 1496; the first edition of the Bible, known as the "Mazarine Bible," printed at Mentz about 1454; the Aldine Dante of 1502; the first Rationale of Durandus of 1459; the first edition of Fisher On the Psalms, of 1508; the Aldine Horace, Juvenal, Martial, and Petrarca, of 1501; the Livy of 1469; the Primer of Salisbury, printed in Paris in 1531; the Psalter of 1457, which supplies the place of the one now at Windsor, which belonged to the Royal Collection before it was transferred to the British Museum; the Sforziada, by Simoneta, of 1490, a most splendid volume even in so splendid a library; the Theuerdank of 1517; the Aulus Gellius and the Vitruvius of Giunta, printed in 1513, etc., etc. Of this identical copy of Vitruvius, formerly Mr. Dent's, the author of the Bibliographical Decameron wrote, "Let the enthusiastic admirers of a genuine vellum Junta—of the amplest size and in spotless condition—resort to the choice cabinet of Mr. Dent for such a copy of this edition of Vitruvius and Frontinus." The Aulus Gellius is in its original state, exactly as it was when presented to Lorenzo de' Medici, afterwards Duke of Urbino, to whom the edition was dedicated.'

In addition to the printed books, the Grenville Library contains sixty-four manuscripts, many of them being of great interest and value. The finest of them is a volume of exquisite miniature drawings by Giulio Clovio, executed by command of Philip II. of Spain, and representing the victories of the Emperor Charles V. This volume was formerly in the Escurial. Other notable manuscripts are the original drawings for Hariot's Virginia in the De Bry collection, made by John White; Norden's Description of Essex; the Third Voyage of Vespucius in Latin; and two very interesting documents relating to the Spanish Armada—one being an original letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord High Admiral, regarding the preparation of the fleet, dated July 21, 1588; and the other, a Resolution of a Council of War, held by the admirals and captains of the fleet which dispersed the Armada, dated August 1, 1588. The former of these papers is signed by Chr. Hatton (Cancs.), W. Burghley, F. Knollys, T. Heneage, Poulet, and J. Wolley; the latter by C. Howard, George Cumberland, T. Howarde, Edmonde Sheffeylde, Fr. Drake, Edw. Hoby, John Hawkyns, and Thomas Fenner.

There is a catalogue of Mr. Grenville's library in three parts (London, 1842-72). Parts 1 and 2 were compiled by Messrs. Payne and Foss, the booksellers of Pall Mall, who bought largely for him; and part 3 by Mr. W.B. Rye, the late Keeper of the Department of Printed Books, British Museum.

A portrait of Mr. Grenville by Hoppner has been engraved for Fisher's National Portrait Gallery. There is also a painting of him by Phillips at Althorp, and a miniature by C. Manzini in the National Portrait Gallery.

A bust of him, presented by Sir David Dundas, is placed in the room in the British Museum occupied by his library.

FRANCIS DOUCE, 1757-1834

Francis Douce, who was born in 1757, was a son of Thomas Douce, one of the Six Clerks of the Court of Chancery. He was first sent to a school at Richmond, conducted by a Mr. Lawton, author of a work on Egypt, and afterwards to 'a French academy, kept by a pompous and ignorant Life-Guardsman, with a view to his learning merchants' accounts, which were his aversion.' On leaving school he studied for the bar, and for some time held an appointment, under his father, in the Six Clerks' Office, but the post was not very congenial to him, as from an early age he devoted himself to books and antiquities, and he also had a great passion for music. His father, who died in 1799, bequeathed the greater part of his property, which was very considerable, to his elder son, leaving but a comparatively small amount to be divided between Francis and his sisters, but in 1823 Nollekens, the sculptor, left Douce so large a portion of his fortune that at the decease of the latter his property was valued at nearly eighty thousand pounds. In 1807 he succeeded the Rev. Robert Nares as Keeper of the Manuscripts in the British Museum, but resigned the post in 1812 in consequence of some trifling disagreement with one of the trustees. While holding this office he took part in the preparation of the catalogues of the Harleian and Lansdowne manuscripts. Douce published in 1807 Illustrations of Shakspeare and Ancient Manners, and in 1833 The Dance of Death, 'exhibited in elegant Engravings on wood, with a Dissertation on the several Representations on that Subject.' The substance of this Dissertation had appeared about forty years before in illustration of Hollar's etchings, published by Edwards of Pall Mall, London. In addition to these works he edited Arnold's Chronicle in 1811, two books for the Roxburghe Club in 1822 and 1824, and assisted in the production of Scott's Sir Tristram, Smith's Vagabondiniana, and the 1824 edition of Warton's History of English Poetry. Many papers also by him are to be found in the Archaeologia, the Vetusta Monumenta, and the Gentleman's Magazine. Douce was a prominent Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and numbered among his friends Isaac D'Israeli, the Rev. C.M. Cracherode, Sir George Staunton, Mr. John Towneley, and Dr. Dibdin, to the last of whom he left five hundred pounds. He is introduced under the name of Prospero in Dibdin's Bibliomania. Douce died at his residence in Gower Street, London, on the 30th of March 1834, and he left in his will two hundred pounds to Sir Anthony Carlisle 'requesting him either to sever my head or extract the heart from my body, so as to prevent the possibility of the return of vitality.' His valuable collection of printed books, which consisted of sixteen thousand four hundred and eighty volumes, with a quantity of fragments of early English works, including two printed by Caxton, which are unique; three hundred and ninety-three manuscripts, many of them beautifully illuminated; ninety-eight charters; a large number of valuable drawings and prints; together with a collection of coins and medals, were left by him to the Bodleian Library. It is said that this bequest was the result of the courteous reception he received from Dr. Bandinel, the librarian, when Douce visited Oxford with Isaac D'Israeli in 1830. The carvings in ivory or other materials, and the miscellaneous curiosities, were bequeathed to Dr., afterwards Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, of Goodrich Castle, Wales, who published an account of them, entitled The Doucean Museum. To the British Museum Douce left a volume of the works of Albert Duerer which had formerly belonged to Nollekens, his impressions from monumental brasses, and his 'commented copies of the blockhead Whitaker's History of Manchester, and his Cornwall Cathedral.' His will also directs his executor 'to collect together all my letters and correspondence, all my private manuscripts, and unfinished or even finished essays or intended work or works, memorandum books, especially such as are marked in the inside of their covers with a red cross, with the exception only of such articles as he may think proper to destroy, as my diaries, or other articles of a merely private nature, and to put them into a strong box, to be sealed up without lock or key, and with a brass plate inscribed "Mr. Douce's papers, to be opened on the 1st of January 1900," and then to deposit this box in the British Museum, or, if the Trustees should decline receiving it, I then wish it to remain with the other things bequeathed to the Bodleian Library.' The Trustees accepted the charge of the box, and it was opened at the time appointed, but nothing of literary value was found in it.

A catalogue of the printed books, manuscripts, charters and fragments presented by Douce to the Bodleian was published in 1840, and there is also a manuscript catalogue of the prints and drawings.

JAMES EDWARDS, 1757-1816

James Edwards, who was so ardent a collector that he directed that his coffin should be made out of the shelves of his library, was born in 1757. He was the eldest son of William Edwards, an eminent bookseller of Halifax, Yorkshire, who was noted both for his success in collecting rare books, and his skill and taste in binding them. In 1784 James Edwards and, along with him, his younger brother John, were set up by their father as booksellers in Pall Mall, London, under the title of Edwards and Sons. John died soon afterwards, but the business was conducted with great ability and success by the elder brother, who, Dibdin says, 'travelled diligently and fearlessly abroad; now exploring the book-gloom of dusty monasteries, and at other times marching in the rear or front of Bonaparte's armies in Italy.'

Edwards was a bookbinder as well as a bookseller, and in 1785 he took out a patent for 'embellishing books bound in vellum by making drawings on the vellum which are not liable to be defaced but by destroying the vellum itself.' This was accomplished by rendering the vellum transparent, and then painting or impressing the design on the under surface. The British Museum possesses a Prayer Book bound by Edwards in this manner for Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III., which is a very skilful and artistic piece of work. Both he and his father were also celebrated for the pretty paintings with which they decorated the edges of the leaves of the books they bound. In 1788 Edwards, accompanied by his friend and fellow bookseller James Robson, went to Venice for the purpose of purchasing the Pinelli Library, which they brought to England, and sold by auction in the following year. Many other collections of note were sold by him during the twenty years he remained in business. Having amassed a considerable fortune, he determined to retire from trade, and in 1805 purchased the fine old manor-house at Harrow, which for some time was one of the residences of the Archbishops of Canterbury. A part of Dibdin's Bibliographical Decameron was written on the garden terrace of this mansion, Edwards being the 'Rinaldo' of that work. In consequence of ill-health he determined in 1815 to part with the remainder of his library (a portion of the books had been disposed of by Christie on his retirement in 1804), and it was sold by his successor in the Pall Mall business, Robert Harding Evans, who became so well known as a book auctioneer. The sale consisted of but eight hundred and thirty lots, but it realised the large sum of eight thousand four hundred and twenty-one pounds, seventeen shillings. Edwards died at Harrow on the 2nd of January 1816, and a monument was erected to his memory in the parish church.

Edwards's collection was not a large one, but it contained some exceedingly rare and choice manuscripts and printed books. Among the most precious of the former was the famous Bedford Book of Hours, which he acquired at the Duchess of Portland's sale in 1786 for two hundred and thirteen pounds, and which was purchased at his own sale by the Marquis of Blandford, afterwards Duke of Marlborough, for six hundred and eighty-seven pounds, fifteen shillings. It is now in the British Museum. Other fine manuscripts were a copy of the Gospels in Greek, written in the tenth century; Opera Horatii, executed for Ferdinand I. King of Naples, which realised respectively two hundred and ten and one hundred and twenty-five pounds; and Regole e Precetti della Pittura, written by Leonardo da Vinci, and illustrated with original drawings by Nicholas Poussin, which fetched one hundred and two pounds, eighteen shillings.

Among the printed books were the Latin Bible, on vellum, printed at Mentz, by Fust and Schoeffer, in 1462, which realised one hundred and seventy-five pounds; and the first edition of Livy, also on vellum, printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz at Rome about 1469. This copy, the only one known on vellum, belonged to Pope Alexander VI., and was bought by Sir M.M. Sykes for nine hundred and three pounds. It was afterwards acquired by the Right Hon. Thomas Grenville, and bequeathed by him to the British Museum. Luther's own copy of the first edition of his translation of the Bible after his final revision, printed at Wittemberg in 1541, with MS. notes by himself, Bugenhagen and Melanchthon, which is also now in the British Museum, sold for eighty-nine pounds, five shillings; and a splendid set of the Opere di Piranesi for three hundred and fifteen pounds. A fine and perfect block-book, the Biblia Pauperum, was also among the treasures of the library, and was purchased by the Duke of Devonshire for two hundred and ten pounds.


George Hibbert was born at Manchester in the year 1757. His father was Robert Hibbert, a West India merchant. Destined from his boyhood to a commercial life, he was educated at a private school, and on leaving Lancashire he joined a London firm engaged in the West India trade, in which, first as a junior partner, and afterwards as the head of the firm, he remained nearly half a century. In 1798 Mr. Hibbert was elected an alderman, but resigned his gown in 1803, and in 1806 he entered Parliament as one of the members for Seaford, Sussex, and sat for that borough until 1812. He was also chairman of the West India merchants, and agent for Jamaica. The construction of the West India Docks was largely owing to his exertions, and as one of the original members of the committee of the London Institution, he took a prominent part in its foundation and management, and for many years he filled the office of president. Mr. Hibbert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1811, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in the following year. He was also a Fellow of the Linnaean Society, and formed at his residence at Clapham a large collection of exotic plants, many of which were first introduced into this country by the agents he employed in almost every part of the globe. He married Elizabeth Margaret, daughter of Mr. Philip Fonnereau, by whom he had a large family. Mr. Hibbert died on the 8th of October 1837, at Munden House, near Watford, Hertfordshire, and was buried in the churchyard of Aldenham, in the same county.

Mr. Hibbert, who was the 'Honorio' of Dibdin's Bibliographical Decameron, was a patron of art, and an enthusiastic collector of books, pictures, and prints and drawings. He formed a splendid library at his houses at Clapham, and in Portland Place, London, which is believed to have cost him at least thirty-five thousand pounds. It contained a large number of early printed Bibles, and was particularly rich in rare editions of the French Romances, and of English and Italian Poetry. No fewer than eighty of the books were printed on vellum. The collection also comprised twenty-five manuscripts.

When, in 1829, Mr. Hibbert retired to his estate of Munden, which had been bequeathed to him by Mr. Roger Parker, an uncle of his wife, he found that the size of his new residence rendered it necessary that he should dispose of the greater part of his collections, and his library was sold by auction by Mr. Evans at 93 Pall Mall in three divisions. The sales occupied altogether forty-two days. The first commenced on the 16th of March, and the last on the 25th of May 1829. There were eight thousand seven hundred and ninety-four lots, representing about twenty thousand volumes; and the total amount realised was twenty-one thousand seven hundred and fifty-three pounds, nine shillings. The books sold for comparatively small sums. A copy of the sale catalogue, with the prices obtained for the books and the names of the purchasers, is preserved in the library of the British Museum.

The following are a few of the principal books in this magnificent collection, together with the prices they fetched at the sale:—

The Gutenberg Bible, two hundred and fifteen pounds.

The Mentz Psalter of 1459, ninety pounds, six shillings.

The Latin Bible printed by Fust and Schoeffer at Mentz in 1462, one hundred and twenty-eight pounds, two shillings.

The Latin Bible, printed at Paris in 1476, thirty-two pounds, eleven shillings.

The Latin Bible, printed by Jenson at Venice in 1479. A very fine copy, which formerly belonged to Pope Sixtus IV., ninety-eight pounds, fourteen shillings.

The Complutensian Polyglot Bible, said to have been Cardinal Ximenes's own copy, for which Mr. Hibbert gave sixteen thousand one hundred francs at the sale, five hundred and twenty-five pounds.

Luther's own copy of the first edition of his translation of the Bible after his final revision. This volume, which is now in the British Museum, contains his autograph, and also the autographs of Bugenhagen, Melanchthon, and G. Major, two hundred and sixty-seven pounds.

The first and second editions of Cicero's Officia, printed by Fust and Schoeffer at Mentz in 1465 and 1466, eighty-two pounds, ten shillings; and fifty-nine pounds.

Cicero's Epistolae ad Familiares, printed by Joannes de Spira at Venice in 1469, eighty pounds.

Petrarch's Sonetti, Canzoni e Trionfi, printed by Jenson at Venice in 1473; the only copy known on vellum, eighty pounds, seventeen shillings.

A presentation copy to Cardinal Sforza of the Sforziada, printed at Milan in 1490; in the original velvet binding, with silver knops, one hundred and sixty-eight pounds. The last two volumes are now preserved in the Grenville Library in the British Museum.

Poliphili Hypnerotomachia, printed by Aldus at Venice in 1499, eighty-two pounds, nineteen shillings.

Missale Vallisumbrose, printed by Lucantonio di Giunta at Venice in 1503, sixty-four pounds, one shilling.

All the above books are printed on vellum. The library also contained several fine block-books: the first edition of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis, the Apocalypsis, and the first edition of Ars Memorandi, which sold respectively for eighty pounds; thirty-one pounds, ten shillings; and twenty-six pounds, ten shillings. The Catholicon of Joannes Balbus de Janua, printed at Mentz in 1460, and five Caxtons: the first edition of the Dictes or Sayings of the Philosophers, Fayts of Arms, the second edition of the Mirrour of the World, the Recuyell of the Histories of Troye, and the Royal Book, were to be found in the collection. Thirty-six pounds, four shillings and sixpence was obtained for the Catholicon, and three hundred and thirty-nine pounds, thirteen shillings and sixpence for the Caxtons. Of these the Recuyell fetched the highest price—one hundred and fifty-seven pounds, ten shillings. Some other notable books in this marvellous library were the Dante, printed at Florence in 1481, which realised forty pounds, nineteen shillings; the first edition of the Teseide of Boccaccio, which was disposed of for one hundred and sixty pounds; a very fine copy of Smith's Historie of Virginia, which sold for thirteen guineas; and the first four folio Shakespeares. The prices obtained for these were eighty-five pounds, one shilling; thirteen pounds; twenty-four pounds; and three pounds, nine shillings.

The more important manuscripts were Praeparatio ad Missam, written and illuminated for Pope Leo X., which fetched ninety-nine pounds, fifteen shillings; Droits d'Armes et de Noblesse, ninety-four pounds, ten shillings; Roman de la Rose, eighty-four pounds; Missale Romanum, sixty-one pounds, nineteen shillings; and Romant des Trois Pelerinages, thirty-one pounds, ten shillings. These were all written on vellum.

In 1819 Mr. Hibbert printed for the Roxburghe Club, from a manuscript preserved in the Pepysian Library at Magdalen College, Cambridge, Six Bookes of Metamorphoseos by Ovyde, translated from the French by Caxton, together with some prefatory remarks by himself.

REV. CHARLES BURNEY, D.D., 1757-1817

Charles Burney, the second son of Charles Burney, the author of The History of Music, was born at Lynn, Norfolk, in the early part of December (the exact date is uncertain) 1757. He was educated at the Charterhouse, and Caius College, Cambridge, but left the University without taking a degree. He afterwards became a student of King's College, Aberdeen, where he graduated M.A. in 1781. After leaving the College he devoted himself to educational work, and for a short time was an assistant master at Highgate School, which he left to join Dr. William Rose, the translator of Sallust, in his school at Chiswick. In 1786, having married Rose's second daughter in 1783, he opened a school of his own at Hammersmith, which he carried on until 1793, when he removed to Greenwich, and there established a very flourishing academy, which in 1813 he made over to his son, the Rev. Charles Parr Burney. Late in life (1807) Burney took orders, and was appointed to the Rectory of St. Paul's, Deptford, Kent, and in a short time after to the Rectory of Cliffe in the same county. In 1811 he was made Chaplain to the King, and in 1817, a few months before his death, he was collated to a prebendal stall in Lincoln Cathedral. He received the degree of LL.D. from the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow in 1792, the degree of M.A. was conferred on him by Cambridge University in 1808, and that of D.D. by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1812. Burney, who was the friend and companion of Dr. Parr and Professor Porson, wrote several works on the Greek and Latin Classics, as well as one or two of a theological nature. He died of apoplexy at Deptford on the 28th of December 1817, and a monument to his memory was erected in Westminster Abbey by a number of his old scholars.

Dr. Burney realised a considerable fortune by his scholastic work, and the money which he thus acquired enabled him to form a library of nearly thirteen thousand five hundred volumes of printed books, and five hundred and twenty manuscripts. Among the latter was the Towneley Homer, believed to be of the thirteenth century, and valued at six hundred guineas. The library was particularly rich in the Greek Classics, especially the dramatists; comprising as many as one hundred and sixty-six editions of Euripides, one hundred and two of Sophocles, and forty-seven of AEschylus, the margins of a large proportion of the classical books being covered with notes in Burney's hand, in addition to those by the Stephens, Bentley, Markland, and others. Another very interesting feature of the library was the large number of English newspapers it contained. These papers, which reached from the reign of James I. until nearly the end of that of George III., were bound in about seven hundred volumes, and now form the basis of the splendid collection in the British Museum. Dr. Burney also amassed from three to four hundred volumes containing materials for a history of the British Stage, and several thousand portraits of literary and theatrical personages. On the death of the Doctor his library was purchased for the British Museum for the sum of thirteen thousand five hundred pounds.


George John, second Earl Spencer, was born on the 1st of September 1758. He was the only son of John Spencer, who was created Viscount Spencer of Althorp in 1761, and Earl Spencer in 1765, and grandson of John, the youngest son of Charles Spencer, third Earl of Sunderland. At seven years of age he was placed under the tutorship of William Jones, the famous Orientalist, who was afterwards knighted, with whom he made two Continental tours. Jones resigned his charge in 1770, when Lord Althorp was sent to Harrow, and, on leaving school, to Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1780 he entered Parliament as member for Northampton, and on the formation of the second Rockingham Ministry in March 1782 he became a Commissioner of the new Treasury Board. On the death of his father in 1783, Lord Althorp (who had married in 1781 Lavinia, eldest daughter of Charles, first Lord Lucan) succeeded to the title, and in 1784 was sent with Mr. Thomas Grenville on a special mission to the Court of Vienna. During his absence from England, on the 19th of July in that year, he was made Lord Privy Seal in Mr. Pitt's Ministry, which office he resigned in the following December for that of First Lord of the Admiralty, a post which he held with great credit for upwards of six years. After his retirement from the Admiralty in February 1801, Lord Spencer remained out of office until February 1806, when he accepted the Secretaryship of State for the Home Department in the Grenville-Fox Ministry. On the dissolution of that ministry in March 1807, he finally retired from office, but continued to take part in the debates in the House of Lords. He died on the 10th of November 1834, and was succeeded by his eldest son John Charles.

Lord Spencer was a most energetic and enlightened collector of books, and the magnificent library which, until the year 1892, was one of the glories of Althorp, testifies to the skill and liberality with which he collected them. A taste for literature and a love of books were developed in Lord Spencer at an early age, and he was but thirty-two when he acquired the choice collection of Count Reviczky, a Hungarian nobleman, which at once placed his library among the more important private collections of the time. He also bought largely at the Mason, Herbert, Roxburghe, Alchorne, and other sales, and after the dispersion of the famous library at White Knights in 1819 he was able to acquire, at a cost of seven hundred and fifty pounds, the copy of the Valdarfer Boccaccio for which he had vainly bid two thousand two hundred and fifty pounds seven years before at the Roxburghe sale. In the years 1819 and 1820 he made a bibliographical tour on the Continent, during which, among other purchases, he acquired the library of the Duke of Cassano-Serra, which contained some very rare fifteenth century books.

Lord Spencer was considerably assisted in the formation of his famous collection by his librarian, the well-known Dr. Thomas Frognall Dibdin, the author of Bibliomania, The Bibliographical Decameron, and other pleasant and gossiping, but somewhat verbose and not particularly accurate, works on books, their printers and owners. Dibdin's services were liberally rewarded; and Edwards, in his work Libraries and Founders of Libraries, states that in addition to his stipend as librarian, 'Lord Spencer insured his librarian's life for the advantage of his family. Lord Spencer also gave him the vicarage of Exning, in Suffolk, in 1823, and obtained for him, on Episcopal recommendation, the rectory of St. Mary, Bryanstone Square, at the end of the same year.' Dibdin was the first to suggest the establishment of the Roxburghe Club, of which he became vice-president. He died in 1847.

The collection at Althorp, which Renouard described as 'the most beautiful and richest private library in Europe,' amounted in 1892 to about forty-one thousand five hundred volumes. Other private libraries have possessed more books, but none could boast of choicer ones. It contained the earliest dated example of wood-engraving—the figure of St. Christopher, with the date 1423; and no less than fourteen block-books, comprising three editions of the Ars Moriendi, three of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis, two of the Apocalypsis S. Johannis, together with copies of the Biblia Pauperum, Ars Memorandi, Historia Virginis ex Cantico Canticorum, Wie die fuenfzehen zaichen kimen vor dem hingsten tag, the Enndchrist, and Mirabilia Romae. It was particularly rich in Bibles, among which were the Gutenberg and Bamberg Bibles, the Coverdale Bible of 1535, and a magnificent copy of the Antwerp Polyglot, once the property of De Thou. It also contained the first and second Mentz Psalters. The Classics, too, were splendidly represented. The editions of works by Cicero numbered upwards of seventy, about fifty of which were printed before 1473; while fifteen of those of Virgil were prior to the year 1476. Among these were the second edition by Sweynheym and Pannartz, most probably printed in 1471, which is not less rare than the first, and the famous 'Adam' edition, which issued from the press in that year. These two volumes were obtained from the library of the King of Wirtemberg, Dibdin making a special journey to Stuttgart to purchase them. The library also possessed a large number of the early editions of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and other Italian Classics; and no less than fifty-two Caxtons, three of them unique, were to be found on its shelves. A splendid descriptive catalogue of the library, entitled 'Bibliotheca Spenceriana,' was compiled by Dibdin in the years 1814-23.

Lord Spencer maintained his interest in his books to the end of his life, and in the year before that of his death he wrote to Dibdin, 'I am trying my hand at a Classed Catalogue.'

In August 1892 this noble collection was purchased by Mrs. Rylands, widow of the late Mr. John Rylands, of Longford Hall, near Manchester, for a sum which was said to be little less than a quarter of a million sterling; and on the 6th of October 1899 she presented it, together with a handsome building for its reception, to the city of Manchester, in memory of her husband. An excellent catalogue, both of the printed books and the manuscripts, in three handsome quarto volumes, compiled by Mr. Gordon Duff, the librarian, accompanied this munificent gift.


Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart., the historian of Wiltshire, was born on the 9th of December 1758. He was the son of Richard Hoare, Esq., of Barn Elms, Surrey (who was created a baronet in 1786), by Anne, second daughter of Henry Hoare, Esq., of Stourhead, Wiltshire, and of Susanna, daughter and heiress of Stephen Colt, Esq. He was privately educated, and at an early age entered the family bank (Messrs. Hoare's Bank, Fleet Street, London). In his work, Pedigrees and Memoirs of the Families of Hore, etc., he writes:—'Blessed by my parents with the advantages of a good education, I thereby acquired a love of literature and of drawing; of which, in my more advanced years, I feel the inestimable advantage. Destined, as I imagined, for an active and commercial life, I was unexpectedly and agreeably surprised to hear, shortly after my marriage, that my generous grandfather had intentions to remove me from the banking business, and to settle me on his estate in Wiltshire; which he put into execution during his lifetime, by making over to me all his landed property, with their appendages, at Stourhead and in the adjoining counties.' In 1783 Hoare married Hester, only daughter of Lord Westcote, afterwards created Lord Lyttelton, who died in 1785, leaving a son Henry Richard. In 1787, on the death of his father, he succeeded to the baronetcy. After the decease of his wife he made an extensive tour on the Continent, visiting France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. In 1787 he returned home, but in the following year he paid a second visit to the Continent, and did not return to England until August 1791. During these tours he made a large number of drawings of interesting objects, and 'for the gratification of his family and friends' printed an account of his travels in four volumes. When he was no longer able to travel on the Continent in consequence of the French revolutionary war, Sir R.C. Hoare made a tour through Wales, taking Giraldus Cambrensis as a guide, and in 1806 he published a translation of the Itinerarium Cambriae of Giraldus in two handsome volumes. He also contributed sixty-three drawings to Archdeacon Coxe's Historical Tour in Monmouthshire, which appeared in 1801. In 1807 he paid a visit to Ireland, and printed a short account of his excursion. In 1812 Hoare published in London the first part of his great work, the Ancient History of Wiltshire, which he completed in two volumes in 1821. This was followed by the Modern History of Wiltshire in fourteen parts, London, 1822-24, which was left unfinished at the time of his death. Hoare was the author of many works in addition to those already mentioned, some of which were intended only for private circulation. A list of them will be found in the Catalogue of the Hoare Library at Stourhead, compiled by John Bowyer Nichols in 1840. Hoare, who was a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries, died at Stourhead on the 19th of May 1838. His only son predeceased him, and the baronetcy and estates devolved on his eldest half-brother, Henry Hugh Hoare of Wavendon, Buckinghamshire.

Sir R.C. Hoare possessed a noble library at Stourhead. The foundation of it no doubt was laid by his grandfather, Henry Hoare, whose bookplate occurs on many of the volumes, but it was Sir R.C. Hoare who brought together the magnificent collection of books on British topography, which was probably the finest private one ever formed. The water-colour drawings, the books of prints, and the engravings in the library were remarkable for their beauty, and had been selected with great judgment and taste. During his travels on the Continent between the years 1785 and 1791 Hoare acquired a large number of books relative to the history and topography of Italy. Of these he printed in 1812 a separate catalogue, the impression of which was limited to twelve copies. In 1825 he presented this collection to the British Museum, together with a copy of the catalogue, upon the fly-leaf of which he has written:—'Anxious to follow the liberal example of our gracious monarch George the Fourth, of Sir George Beaumont, Bart., of Richd. Payne Knight, Esq. (tho' in a very humble degree) I do give unto the British Museum, this my Collection of Topography, made during a residence of five years abroad—and hoping that the more modern publications may be added to it hereafter. Rich. Colt Hoare, A.D. 1825.' The Stourhead library was sold by auction on Monday, the 30th of July 1883 and seven following days, by Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge. The books, engravings and drawings, of which there were one thousand nine hundred and seventy-one lots, realised ten thousand and twenty-eight pounds, six shillings and sixpence. On the 9th of December 1887, and three following days, some more books belonging to the library were sold for one thousand three hundred and ninety-two pounds, eleven shillings and sixpence. The prices obtained for many of the books were exceptionally high.


William Beckford, the author of Vathek, was born at Fonthill, Wiltshire on the 29th of September 1759. He was the only legitimate child of Alderman William Beckford, who was twice Lord Mayor of London, and who died in 1770, leaving his son property worth upwards of one hundred thousand pounds a year. Beckford amassed at his residence at Fonthill a magnificent collection of books, pictures, furniture and curiosities of all kinds, but his extravagance and the depreciation of his West India property compelled him in 1823 to sell Fonthill and the greater part of its contents. He, however, retained a portion of his library and the best of his pictures, and removed them to Lansdown Tower, Bath, which he built on leaving Fonthill, and where he continued to add to his collections. Beckford married in 1783 Margaret, daughter of Charles, fourth Earl of Aboyne, by whom he had two daughters—Margaret and Susan Euphemia—the elder of whom married Colonel Orde, and the younger the Marquis of Douglas, who afterwards became Duke of Hamilton. The elder daughter having offended her father by her marriage with Colonel Orde, he left all his property to the Duchess of Hamilton. After Beckford's death on May the 2nd, 1844, the Duke of Hamilton wished to sell the library to Mr. Henry Bohn, who was willing to give thirty thousand pounds for it, but the Duchess objected to part with her father's books, and they were removed to Hamilton Palace, but kept separate from the noble library which already existed there. In the years 1882, 1883 and 1884 both these splendid collections were sold. The sale, or rather sales, of the Beckford books, for the collection was divided into four portions, took place at the auction rooms of Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, and lasted altogether forty days; the first sale commencing on the 30th of June 1882 and lasting twelve days, and the last on the 27th of November 1883, and continuing for four days. The total number of lots in the four sales was nine thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven, and the amount realised seventy-three thousand five hundred and fifty-one pounds, eighteen shillings.

Beckford's library was rich in fine early printed books, rare voyages and travels, and choice French, Spanish and Italian works, but it was chiefly remarkable for its superb collection of beautiful and historical bindings. It contained a large number of volumes from the libraries of Grolier, Maioli, Lauwrin, Canevari, De Thou, Peiresc, and other distinguished collectors, and also examples of bindings bearing the arms and devices of Francis I. of France, Henry II. and Diana of Poitiers, Charles IX., Henry III., Henry IV., Louis XIII., Anne of Austria, etc.; many of the volumes being bound by Nicolas and Clovis Eve, Le Gascon, Padeloup, Derome, Monnier and other famous French binders. Very high prices were obtained for many of these splendid books—Lactantii Opera, printed in the Monastery of Subiaco by Sweynheym and Pannartz in 1465, sold for two hundred and eighty-five pounds; Biblia Latina, printed on vellum by N. Jenson at Venice in 1476, three hundred and thirty pounds; Livre de Bien Vivre, on vellum, finely illuminated, Paris, A. Verard, 1492, three hundred and thirty pounds; Philostrati Vita Apollonii Tyanei, printed by Aldus at Venice in 1502, Grolier's copy, bound in red morocco, three hundred pounds; Lucanus, printed by Aldus in 1515, Grolier's copy, bound in marbled calf, two hundred and ninety pounds; Tirante il Bianco, Vinegia, 1538, red morocco, from the library of Demetrio Canevari, one hundred and eleven pounds; Entree de Henry II. en Paris 6 Juing 1549, etc., with the arms and cypher of de Thou on the binding, four hundred and seventy pounds; Psalmorum Paraphrasis Poetica, by G. Buchanan, beautifully bound in olive morocco, with the arms and cypher of De Thou, three hundred and ten pounds; Livre de la Conqueste de la Toison d'Or par le Prince Jason, par J. Gohory, Paris, 1563, in a beautiful binding by Nicolas Eve, with the arms of the Duke of Guise painted on the covers, four hundred and five pounds; Poliphile Hypnerotomachie, Paris, 1561, bound in blue morocco by Nicolas Eve for Louise de Lorraine, two hundred and twenty pounds; Portraits des Rois, Hommes et Dames Illustres, etc., a series of the engraved works of Sir Anthony Vandyck, including his own etchings, in three large folio volumes, two thousand eight hundred and fifty pounds; Decor Puellarum, printed by N. Jenson at Venice in 1471, in a splendid binding by Monnier—blue morocco, with flowers in various leathers, and with silk linings, five hundred and thirty pounds; and Longi Pastoralia, printed on vellum by P. Didot at Paris for Junot, Duke of Abrantes, with drawings by Prud'hon and F. Gerard, nine hundred pounds.

Beckford wrote other works besides Vathek, several of which he left in manuscript, and a large number of his books contained notes in his handwriting.


Frederick North, fifth Earl of Guilford, was born on the 7th of February 1766. He was the third and youngest son of Frederick, second Earl, Prime Minister from January 1770 to March 1782. When his health, which was very delicate, permitted, he went to Eton, and afterwards became a student of Christ Church, Oxford. He was created D.C.L. in 1793, and received the same degree by diploma in 1819. In 1779, through his father's interest, he obtained the sinecure of one of the Chamberlains of the Tally Court of the Exchequer, and in 1794 he was appointed to the Comptrollership of the Customs of the Port of London, when he resigned the representation of the family borough of Banbury, to which he had succeeded when his eldest brother, George Augustus, came to the Earldom in 1792. North was Secretary of State to the Viceroy of the Ionian Islands during 1795 and 1796, and in 1798 he was made Governor of Ceylon, a post he held until July 1805. On the death of his brother Francis, the fourth Earl, in 1817, he succeeded to the Earldom of Guilford, and in 1819 he was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the Eumelean Club. Lord Guilford, who had been received into the Eastern Church at Corfu in 1791, died unmarried in London on the 14th of October 1827, and was succeeded by his cousin, the Rev. Francis North, Prebendary of Winchester and Master of the Hospital of St. Cross. Lord Guilford was a distinguished scholar, and a most accomplished linguist. He took the greatest interest in everything relating to Greek literature and art, and it was principally through his exertions, and with his money, that a University was founded in 1824 at Corfu, of which he was the first chancellor, and in which he resided until 1827, when he was obliged to return to England on account of his health. He left his collections of printed books, manuscripts, etc., at Corfu to the University, but in consequence of its failure to comply with certain conditions which accompanied the bequest, it was not carried out. Lord Guilford's fine library was sold by Evans, in seven parts, in the years 1828, 1829, 1830, and 1835. The first sale took place on December 15th, 1828, and eight following days; and the others on January 12th, 1829, and five following days; February 28th, 1829, and two following days; December 8th, 1830, and four following days; December 20th, 1830, and four following days; January 5th, 1831, and three following days; and November 9th, 1835, and seven following days. The last three sales were of the manuscripts and books removed from Corfu. There were eight thousand five hundred and eleven lots in the seven sales, which realised twelve thousand one hundred and seventy-eight pounds, ten shillings and sixpence.

Lord Guilford's collection was an excellent one, and, as might be expected, the Greek manuscripts in it were particularly numerous and choice. The printed books were good, but they were not equal to the manuscripts either in interest or value. Among the latter was the original manuscript of Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, with some alterations of verses in the margin, likewise in the handwriting of Tasso. This sold for two hundred and four pounds, fifteen shillings. Four Greek manuscripts of the eleventh century: a copy of the Four Gospels; the Greek Offices, with Intonations or Musical Directions for Chanting; an Evangelistarium and Menologium of the Greek Church; and Josephus's Historia de Bello Judaico, deserve special notice on account of their beauty and rarity. These fetched at the sale respectively one hundred and two pounds, eighteen shillings; one hundred and seventy-three pounds, five shillings; seventy-three pounds, ten shillings; and two hundred and seventy-three pounds. Another interesting manuscript was a copy of the New Testament in Glagolitic characters, which realised one hundred and sixty-eight pounds. Among the printed books may be mentioned a large paper copy of the first edition of the Sixtine Bible, printed at Rome in 1590, and suppressed by order of Gregory XIV., on account of the numerous inaccuracies in it, which realised sixty-three pounds; and the Duke of Northumberland's Concio ad Populum Londinensem, printed at Rome in 1570, of which the only other known copy is in the library of the Vatican, for which forty-two pounds was obtained.


George Spencer Churchill, fifth Duke of Marlborough, the collector of the famous library at White Knights, near Reading, Berkshire, was the elder son of George, fourth Duke of Marlborough, by Caroline, only daughter of John, fourth Duke of Bedford. He was born on the 6th of March 1766, and was educated at Eton, and subsequently at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating M.A. in 1786 and D.C.L. in 1792. At the general election in 1790 he was returned to Parliament as one of the members for Oxfordshire, and in August 1804 he was appointed a Lord of the Treasury, which office he held until February 1806. On the 12th of March in the same year he was called to the House of Lords as Baron Spencer of Wormleighton, and on the death of his father on the 29th of January 1817 he succeeded to the dukedom. In the May following he was authorised to take and use the name of Churchill after that of Spencer, and to bear the arms of Churchill quarterly with those of Spencer, in order to perpetuate in his family the surname of his celebrated ancestor, John, first Duke of Marlborough. He married, on the 15th of September 1791, Susan, second daughter of John, seventh Earl of Galloway, by whom he had issue four sons and two daughters. He died on the 5th of March 1840, and was succeeded by his eldest son, George.

The splendid library which the Duke of Marlborough, while Marquis of Blandford, collected at White Knights was one of the finest in the kingdom. Its two great treasures were the Bedford Book of Hours, now in the British Museum, purchased by the Duke in 1815 at the sale of the library of James Edwards, for the sum of six hundred and ninety-eight pounds, five shillings; and the edition of Boccaccio's Decameron, printed by Valdarfer at Venice in 1471, which he acquired at the Duke of Roxburghe's sale in 1812, after a spirited contest with his relative, Earl Spencer, at the enormous price of two thousand two hundred and sixty pounds. This copy, Edward Edwards tells us (Libraries and Founders of Libraries), had been offered to Lord Sunderland for a hundred guineas just a century before one of his great-grandsons offered more than two thousand guineas for it, and was outbidden by another. Among many other choice manuscripts and rare books the library contained a beautiful Missal, said to have been executed for Diana of Poitiers; no fewer than eighteen Caxtons; the Bokys of Hawkyng and Huntyng, printed at St. Albans in 1486; a large number of very rare books from the presses of Machlinia, Pynson, Wynkyn de Worde, and other early English printers; a copy on vellum of the first edition of Luther's translation of the Bible after his final revision; a collection of Churchyard's Works in two volumes; many of the early editions of Shakespeare's plays, together with the first edition of his Sonnets; and Ireland's account of the Shakesperian Forgery, in his own handwriting. The collection was especially rich in missals, books of emblems, and Italian, Spanish, and French romances of chivalry, poetry, and facetiae.

The extravagance of the Duke compelled him to dispose of his magnificent collection during his lifetime, and it was sold in two parts by Mr. Evans at 26 Pall Mall. The sale, which consisted of four thousand seven hundred and one lots, commenced on the 7th of June 1819 and lasted till the 3rd of July following. It realised but fourteen thousand four hundred and eighty-two pounds, ten shillings and sixpence, a much less sum than that paid for the books by the Duke. The Valdarfer Boccaccio sold for nine hundred and eighteen pounds, fifteen shillings, and the Caxtons fetched one thousand three hundred and sixteen pounds, twelve shillings and sixpence; the highest prices being obtained for Gower's Confessio Amantis, and Chaucer's Troylus and Creside, which realised two hundred and five pounds, sixteen shillings, and one hundred and sixty-two pounds, fifteen shillings. The Book of St. Albans, which was imperfect, fetched eighty-four pounds; Luther's translation of the Bible, two hundred and twenty pounds, ten shillings; Churchyard's Works, eighty-five pounds, one shilling; and Shakespeare's Sonnets, thirty-seven pounds. The Missal said to have been written for Diana of Poitiers sold for one hundred and ten pounds, five shillings.


A good library had no doubt existed in Hamilton Palace for a considerable period of time, but Alexander, tenth Duke of Hamilton, who was born on the 5th of October 1767, and died on the 18th of August 1852, was the first of his line who was a book-collector on an extensive scale. He formed a large and very choice collection of printed books, but that of his manuscripts was of still greater interest and value. It was wonderfully rich in Bibles and portions of the Scriptures, Missals, Breviaries and Books of Hours, many of them having been written and illuminated for Francis I., King of France, the Emperor Maximilian, Pope Leo X., the Duke of Guise, and other distinguished personages. The finest of these was a copy of the Gospels in Latin, known as 'The Golden Gospels,' written about the end of the eighth century in gold letters upon purple vellum, which was at one time the property of King Henry VIII. Another famous manuscript in the library, valued at five thousand pounds, was the Divina Commedia of Dante, illustrated with upwards of eighty original designs attributed to Sandro Botticelli, now in the Royal Library at Berlin.

In addition to his own books, the Duke acquired the whole of William Beckford's splendid collection by his marriage with Beckford's daughter Susan Euphemia. William, the eleventh Duke, who was born on February the 19th, 1811, and died on July the 15th, 1863, added considerably to the library, but his successor was reluctantly obliged to part with it, and it was advertised to be sold by auction on June 30th, 1882. Before, however, the time appointed for the sale, the Royal Museum at Berlin, by a private arrangement, acquired the whole of the manuscripts for a sum which is believed to have amounted to about seventy-five thousand pounds, and they were divided between that Institution and the Royal Library at Berlin. A portion of them, which related to Scottish history, was purchased of the Prussian authorities by the British Museum; and ninety-one other manuscripts which were not required by the Berlin Museum, including the 'Golden Gospels,' were sent to Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, by whom they were sold on the 23rd of May 1889 for fifteen thousand one hundred and eighty-nine pounds, ten shillings and sixpence. The 'Golden Gospels' was bought by Mr. Quaritch for one thousand five hundred pounds. The printed books were sold by the same auctioneers on May 1st, 1884, and seven following days. The sale consisted of two thousand one hundred and thirty-six lots, and realised twelve thousand eight hundred and ninety-two pounds, twelve shillings and sixpence. The following are a few of the rarest and most interesting books, and the prices they fetched—Boecius de Consolatione Philosophie, printed by Caxton in 1477-78, one hundred and sixty pounds; Dante's Commedia, printed at Florence in 1481, with twenty engravings by Baccio Baldini, three hundred and eighty pounds; the Poems of Pindar in Greek, printed by Aldus in 1513, with the arms of France and the monogram and devices of Henry II. and Diana of Poitiers on the binding, one hundred and forty-one pounds; the Prince of Conde's copy of L'Hystoire du Roy Perceforest, Paris, 1528, with his arms on the covers, one hundred and eighteen pounds; a dedication copy, printed upon vellum, and bound for James V., King of Scotland, of Hector Boece's History and Croniklis, translated by Bellenden, and printed at Edinburgh in 1536, the binding having on the upper cover IACOBVS QVINTVS, and on the lower REX SCOTORVM, eight hundred pounds; a Collection of Architectural Designs, executed with pen and ink by J. Androuet du Cerceau, in a beautiful binding attributed to Clovis Eve, two hundred and forty pounds; De Bry's Collectiones Peregrinationum, in eleven volumes, bound in blue morocco by Derome, five hundred and sixty pounds; Book of Common Prayer, 1637, folio—King Charles I.'s copy, with numerous alterations in his own handwriting which were used in printing the Scottish Prayer-book of the same year, usually termed Laud's Book. Prefixed to the Order for Morning Prayer the King has written: 'Charles R.—I gave the Archbp. of Canterbury comand to make the alteracons expressed in this Book and to fit a Liturgy for the Church of Scotland, and wheresoever they shall differ from another Booke signed by us at Hampt. Court Septembr. 28, 1634, our pleasure is to have these followed rather than the former; unless the Archbp. of St. Andrews and his Brethren who are upon the place shall see apparent reason to the contrary. At Whitehall, April 19, 1636'—one hundred and thirty-seven pounds.

The paintings and objects of art belonging to the Duke of Hamilton were sold in July 1882, and realised three hundred and ninety-seven thousand pounds.


Sir Mark Masterman Sykes, Bart., was the eldest son of Sir Christopher Sykes, second baronet, of Sledmere, Yorkshire. He was born on the 20th of August 1771, and in his seventeenth year was sent to Brasenose College, Oxford. In 1795 he served the office of High Sheriff of Yorkshire, and on the death of his father in 1801 he succeeded to the title and estates. He was elected Member of Parliament for the city of York in 1807; was again returned in 1812 and 1813, and retired on account of ill health in 1820. Sir M. Masterman Sykes was twice married. His first wife was Henrietta, daughter and heiress of Henry Masterman of Settrington, Yorkshire, and on his union with her in 1795 he assumed the additional name of Masterman. She died in 1813, and in the following year he married Mary Elizabeth, daughter of William Tatton Egerton, and sister of Wilbraham Tatton Egerton, of Tatton Park, who survived him. Sir Mark died at Weymouth, on his way to London, on the 16th of February 1823. He had no children, and was succeeded by his brother, Sir Tatton Sykes.

Sir M. Masterman Sykes early developed a love for books, and the magnificent library which he formed, one of the finest private collections in England, was the result of upwards of thirty years' unremitting and careful work. Some of the rare volumes it contained, we are informed in the preface to the sale catalogue of his library written by the Rev. H.J. Todd, 'were procured during the collector's travels abroad, but many of them were acquired at the dispersion of the libraries of Major Pearson, Dr. Farmer, Steevens, Reed, the Rev. Mr. Brand, the Duke of Roxburghe and others, but especially of that of the late Mr. Edwards, from whom the celebrated Livy of 1469 was obtained—the only known copy of the first edition of Livy on vellum.'

Among the principal treasures of the collection were the Gutenberg Bible; the Psalter of 1459, on vellum; the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of Durandus, on vellum, 1459; the Catholicon of Joannes Balbus de Janua, 1460; the Latin Bible of 1462, on vellum; and the Epistles of St. Jerome, on vellum, 1470: all printed at Mentz.

The library was especially rich in early editions of the Greek and Latin Classics, and on its shelves were to be found the only copy known to exist on vellum of the first edition of Livy, printed at Rome by Sweynheym and Pannartz about 1469, to which we have already referred; the first edition of Pliny, printed by Joannes de Spira at Venice in 1469; that printed at Rome by Sweynheym and Pannartz in 1470; a copy on vellum of the beautiful 1472 edition from the press of Nicolas Jenson of Venice; and the earliest editions of Homer, Cicero, Horace, Virgil, Tacitus, Terence, and Valerius Maximus.

The library also contained the Dante printed at Foligno in 1472, and that printed at Florence in 1481; the first issue of the Latin translation of the Letter of Columbus, printed at Rome in 1493; a fine copy of the Poliphili Hypnerotomachia, printed by Aldus at Venice in 1499; the Aldine Petrarch of 1501; several rare Missals and Books of Hours, the most notable of them being a vellum copy of the Vallombrosa Missal, printed at Florence in 1503; and a copy of the Tewrdannck, also on vellum, printed at Nuremberg in 1517.

There were several Caxtons, among them being The Myrrour of the World and Higden's Polychronicon.

The literature of the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. was well represented, and the library contained a copy of that rare work, Archbishop Parker's De Antiquitate Ecclesiae Britannicae.

The collection also comprised several fine and interesting manuscripts. Deserving especial notice were a beautiful illuminated Office, on vellum, of the Virgin Mary, executed for Francis I., King of France; the original Report of Convocation to Henry VIII. on the Legality of his proposed Divorce from Anne of Cleves, subscribed with the autograph signatures of the Archbishop and all the Bishops and Clergy assembled in Convocation, dated July 9th, 1540; and an autograph manuscript of Dugdale's Visitation of the County of York in 1665-66.

Sir M. Masterman Sykes possessed an immense collection of prints. It included a complete set of Bartolozzi's engravings which is said to have cost Sir Mark nearly five thousand pounds; his collection of portraits was considered to be one of the best in the kingdom; and Dibdin declared that his 'Faithornes and Hollars almost defied competition.' He also accumulated a considerable number of pictures, bronzes, coins and medals.

All the collections were dispersed by sale in 1824. The books were sold by Mr. Evans of Pall Mall in three parts, commencing on the 11th of May and continuing until the 28th of June. The total amount realised was eighteen thousand seven hundred and twenty-nine pounds, sixteen shillings. The prices obtained were by no means high. The Gutenberg Bible, which was a very fine one, fetched less than two hundred pounds, and the copy of the Mentz Psalter, for which Mr. Quaritch subsequently gave four thousand nine hundred and fifty pounds at Sir J. H. Thorold's sale in 1884, sold for one hundred and thirty-six pounds, ten shillings. The Latin Bible of 1462 was disposed of for the same sum; and the unique vellum Livy, which cost Sir Mark nine hundred and three pounds at the sale of Mr. Edwards's books in 1815, realised but four hundred and seventy-two pounds, ten shillings. This volume was bought by Messrs. Payne and Foss, who sold it to Mr. John Dent, and at the sale of his collection in 1827 it was acquired for two hundred and sixty-two pounds, ten shillings by the Right Hon. Thomas Grenville, who bequeathed it to the British Museum in 1846. The three manuscripts mentioned—The Office of the Virgin Mary, the Report of Convocation on Henry VIII.'s divorce from Anne of Cleves, and Dugdale's Visitation of the County of York—fetched respectively one hundred and sixty-three pounds, sixteen shillings; two hundred and fifteen pounds, five shillings; and one hundred and fifty-seven pounds, ten shillings.

Sir M. Masterman Sykes was one of the original members of the Roxburghe Club, and in 1818 printed for presentation to the members a portion of Lydgate's Poems. He was the 'Lorenzo' of Dibdin, who describes him as 'not less known than respected for the suavity of his manners, the kindness of his disposition, and the liberality of his conduct in all matters connected with books and prints.'

RICHARD HEBER, 1773-1833

Richard Heber, styled by Sir Walter Scott 'Heber the Magnificent, whose library and cellar are so superior to all others in the world,' was the eldest son of Reginald Heber, lord of the manors of Marton in Yorkshire, and Hodnet in Shropshire, and was half-brother to Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta. He was born in Westminster on the 5th of January 1773, and was first educated under the private tuition of the Rev. George Henry Glasse; afterwards proceeding to Brasenose College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1796, and M.A. in the following year. In 1822 the University conferred on him the degree of D.C.L. On the death of his father in 1804, Heber succeeded to the estates in Yorkshire and Shropshire, which he considerably augmented and improved. He was one of the founders of the Athenaeum Club, and in 1821 he was elected a representative in Parliament for the University of Oxford, but resigned his seat in 1826. From his earliest years he was an ardent collector, and Dibdin says that he had seen a catalogue of Heber's books, compiled by him at the age of eight; and when ten years old he requested his father to buy some volumes at a certain sale, where 'there would be the best editions of the classics.' Of many of his books he possessed several copies, and on being asked by a friend why he purchased them, he seriously replied: 'Why, you see, Sir, no man can comfortably do without three copies of a book. One he must have for his show copy, and he will probably keep it at his country house. Another he will require for his own use and reference; and unless he is inclined to part with this, which is very inconvenient, or risk the injury of his best copy, he must needs have a third at the service of his friends.' Soon after the peace of 1815 Heber paid a visit to the Continent to collect books for his library, and in 1825 he again left England for a considerable period for the purpose of still further adding to his literary stores. On his return in 1831 he spent his time in seclusion between his country residence at Hodnet, near Shrewsbury, and his house at Pimlico, devoting himself to the last days of his life to the increase of his immense collection. He died at Pimlico of an attack on the lungs, accompanied with jaundice, on the 4th of October 1833, and was buried at Hodnet on the 16th of the following month. The Rev. Mr. Dyce in a letter to Sir Egerton Brydges, gives a melancholy account of his end. 'Poor man,' he writes, 'he expired at Pimlico, in the midst of his rare property, without a friend to close his eyes, and from all I have heard I am led to believe he died broken-hearted: he had been ailing for some time, but took no care of himself, and seemed indeed to court death. Yet his ruling passion was strong to the last. The morning he died he wrote out some memoranda for Thorpe about books which he wished to be purchased for him. He was the most liberal of book-collectors: I never asked him for the loan of a volume, which he could lay his hand on, he did not immediately send me.[91] Heber, who was a man of deep learning, numbered among his friends Porson, Cracherode, Canning, Southey, Dr. Burney, Sir Walter Scott, and many other distinguished persons. Sir Walter dedicated the sixth canto of Marmion to him, and alludes to his library in the following lines:—

'Thy volumes, open as thy heart, Delight, amusement, science, art, To every ear and eye impart; Yet who, of all who thus employ them, Can like the owner's self enjoy them?— But, hark! I hear the distant drum! The day of Flodden Field is come.— Adieu, dear Heber! Life and health, And store of literary wealth.'

The number of volumes accumulated by Heber was enormous. He collected manuscripts as well as printed books. At the time of his death he possessed eight houses overflowing with books. At Hodnet he had built a new library which he is said to have filled with volumes selected on account of their fine condition; and so careful was he of these, that occasionally he used to engage the whole of the inside places of the coach for their conveyance from London. The walls of all the rooms and passages of his house at Pimlico were lined with books; and another house in York Street, Westminster, which he used as a depository for newly purchased books, was literally crammed with them from the floors to the ceilings. He had a library in the High Street, Oxford; an immense collection at Paris, which was sold in the years 1834 to 1836; another at Ghent, sold in 1835; and others at Brussels and Antwerp, together with smaller gatherings in several places on the Continent. Dibdin estimated the total number of volumes in Heber's collections in England at one hundred and twenty-seven thousand five hundred, but other calculations have placed it at a somewhat lower figure. The whole of the libraries which he possessed in England and on the Continent probably contained from one hundred and forty-five thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand volumes, as well as a very large number of pamphlets; and they are believed to have cost him about a hundred thousand pounds. As Heber was an accomplished scholar as well as a collector, his books were chosen with ability and judgment. He was a purchaser at every great sale, and so keen was he in the prosecution of his favourite pursuit, that on hearing of a rare book he has been known to undertake a coach journey of several hundred miles to obtain it. His library was particularly rich in the works of the early English poets, and his collection of Greek and Latin Classics, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French books was very extensive and choice, but he had a great objection to large paper copies, because they occupied so much room on his shelves. He possessed also a number of books printed in Mexico; and among his manuscripts were to be found the letters and papers of Sir Julius Caesar, the autograph manuscript of The Monastery, by Sir Walter Scott, and a large collection of the letters of distinguished men. For a considerable period his will could not be found, although diligent search was made for it, both at home and abroad, and his sister, Mrs. Cholmondeley, was on the point of taking out letters of administration, when it was accidentally discovered by Dr. Dibdin among some books on an upper shelf at Pimlico. As it did not contain any directions as to the disposal of his books, those in England, together with some brought from Holland, were sold by Sotheby and Son, Evans, and Wheatley at a series of sales extending over four years, and realised fifty-seven thousand five hundred and fifty-four pounds, twelve shillings. The catalogue is in thirteen parts, bearing the dates 1834-37. His books on the Continent, with the drawings and coins, fetched about ten thousand pounds more.

Heber edited the works of Persius Flaccus, Silius Italicus, and Claudianus. He also reprinted the Caltha Poetarum, or the Bumble Bee, of T. Cutwode, from the edition of 1599, for the Roxburghe Club, and assisted in the preparation of the third edition of Ellis's Specimens of the Early English Poets.


[Footnote 91: The Book Fancier. By Percy Fitzgerald (London, 1887), p. 230.]


Richard Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville, first Duke of Buckingham, was born in London on the 20th of March 1776. He was the eldest son of George Grenville, Earl Temple, who was made Marquis of Buckingham in 1784. He began collecting books at a very early age, and in 1798 had already commenced the formation of a library at Stowe; and the acquisition of the manuscripts and papers of Thomas Astle, Keeper of the Records in the Tower; the Irish manuscripts from Belanagare, the seat of The O'Conor Don; the State Papers of Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in the reign of Charles II., together with some other purchases, placed his library among the finest private collections in the kingdom.[92] On the death of his father in 1813 he succeeded to the title, and nine years later he was created Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. In 1827, in consequence of his great expenditure on his various collections, and the munificence with which he had entertained the royal family of France, he found himself in embarrassed circumstances, and left England, remaining abroad about two years. In 1834 he was compelled to sell his furniture, pictures, and articles of virtu, but did not part with his books, which, on his death on the 17th of January 1839, passed into the possession of his only son, Richard Plantagenet Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville, who was born on February the 11th, 1797. The habits of the son were not less extravagant than those of his father, and in 1847 the effects at Stowe and his other residences were seized by bailiffs, and in August and September 1848 the pictures, furniture, china, plate, etc., were sold by auction, realising over seventy-five thousand five hundred pounds. The printed books in the library were sold by Sotheby and Wilkinson, on January 8th, 1849, and eleven following days, and January 29, and eleven following days. There were six thousand two hundred and twelve lots in the two sales, which brought ten thousand three hundred and fifty-five pounds, seven shillings and sixpence. The extensive and valuable series of engraved portraits contained in the Duke's illustrated copy of the Biographical History of England, by the Rev. James Granger, was sold by the same auctioneers on March 5th and eight following days, and a continuation of it by the Rev. Mark Noble, together with some other engravings, on the 21st of March and five following days. There were two thousand two hundred and one lots in these two sales, for which the sum of three thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine pounds, eighteen shillings and sixpence was obtained. The manuscripts were bought by the Earl of Ashburnham for eight thousand pounds. The collection of printed books in the Stowe library was inferior in interest to that of the manuscripts, but it contained some rare and choice volumes. Amongst them was a block-book, The Apocalypse, which sold for ninety-four pounds; Missale ad usum Ecclesiae Andegavensis, on vellum, printed in 1489, sixty-three pounds; Le Fevre's Recuyles of the Hystoryes of Troye, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1503, fifty-five pounds; a complete set of the twenty-five parts in eight volumes of De Bry's Collectiones Peregrinationum, printed at Frankfurt in 1590-1634, eighty-one pounds; De Bry's Relation of Virginia, translated by Hariot, printed at Frankfurt in 1590, sixty-three pounds; the first Shakespeare folio (mended, and the title-page slightly imperfect), seventy-six pounds; fine, large, and perfect copies of the second and third folios, eleven pounds, five shillings and thirty-five pounds; Shakespeare's Poems, 1640, seven pounds, ten shillings; Prynne's Records, three volumes, 1665-70, one hundred and forty pounds; the fourth volume, printed in 1665 or 1666, believed to be unique, three hundred and thirty-five pounds; Houbraken's Heads of Illustrious Persons, two volumes, 1756, folio, large paper, with first states and duplicate proofs of the plates, etc., ninety-one pounds; Bartolozzi's Engravings, a collection of six hundred and sixty plates in various proof states, bound in eight folio volumes, sixty-two pounds; Boydell's Prints, five hundred and forty fine impressions, bound in nine folio volumes, seventy-eight pounds, fifteen shillings; Lysons's Topographical Account of Buckinghamshire, inlaid in eight volumes, atlas folio, and super-illustrated with four hundred and eighty drawings, etc., five hundred and forty pounds; and Lysons's Environs of London, large paper, eighteen volumes quarto, super-illustrated with eight hundred drawings and a large number of plates, one hundred and thirty-three pounds. The Duke, who died at the Great Western Hotel, London, on July the 29th, 1861, was the author of Memoirs of the Court and Cabinets of George III., 1853-55, two volumes; Memoirs of the Court of England during the Regency, 1856, two volumes; Memoirs of the Court of George IV., 1859, two volumes; Memoirs of the Courts and Cabinets of William IV. and Victoria, 1861, two volumes; and Private Diary of Richard, Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1862, four volumes; together with a few political works.


[Footnote 92: A descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts in the Stowe library by the Rev. Charles O'Conor, D.D., the Duke's librarian, was printed in 1818-19.]

HENRY PERKINS, 1778-1855

Henry Perkins, who was born in 1778, was a partner in the well-known firm of Barclay, Perkins and Co., brewers, but he does not appear to have taken an active part in the business, and he spent the later part of his life in retirement among his books at Hanworth Park, Middlesex. He died at Dover on the 15th of April 1855.

Mr. Perkins, who was a Fellow of the Linnean, Geological and Horticultural Societies, possessed a small but exceedingly valuable library, which, among many other extremely rare books, contained two copies of the Gutenberg Bible, one on vellum and the other on paper; a copy on vellum of Fust and Schoeffer's Latin Bible of 1462; a copy of the Coverdale Bible; several works from the press of Caxton, and the first four editions of Shakespeare's Plays. It also comprised many fine manuscripts, some of them superbly illuminated. Mr. Henry Perkins bequeathed his books to his son, Mr. Algernon Perkins, and after his death in 1870 they were sold by auction at Hanworth by Gadsden, Ellis and Co. on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th of June 1873. There were but eight hundred and sixty-five lots in the sale, but they realised an average of thirty pounds, or a total of twenty-five thousand nine hundred and fifty-four pounds, four shillings, the largest sum ever obtained for a library of the same extent. The vellum copy of the Gutenberg Bible was purchased for the Earl of Ashburnham for three thousand four hundred pounds; and the paper copy, now in the Huth library, fetched two thousand six hundred and ninety. Fust and Schoeffer's Latin Bible of 1462, which Mr. Perkins acquired at the sale of Mr. Dent's books for one hundred and seventy-three pounds, five shillings, sold for seven hundred and eighty pounds; while the copy of Coverdale's Bible, which wanted the title and two following leaves and the map, realised four hundred pounds; and the 1623 edition of Shakespeare's Plays brought five hundred and eighty-five pounds. The manuscripts also went for large sums. John Lydgate's Sege of Troye, a magnificently illuminated manuscript on vellum of the fifteenth century; Les OEuvres Diverses of Jehan de Meun; and Les Cent Histoires de Troye of Christine de Pisan, of about the same period, sold respectively for thirteen hundred and twenty, six hundred and ninety, and six hundred and fifty pounds. The prices obtained for the books were generally greatly in excess of those given by Mr. Perkins for them.


Frederick Perkins of Chepstead, Kent, born in 1780, was a brother of Henry Perkins, and a partner in the same firm. He also formed a good library, which contained the first four Shakespeare folios, and a considerable number of the separate plays in quarto. Among them were the first editions of Love's Labour Lost, Much Ado about Nothing, the Second Part of Henry the Fourth, Troilus and Cressida, Pericles, Othello, and the second or first complete edition of Romeo and Juliet, as well as the first edition of Lucrece. Three Caxtons were to be found in the collection: the Mirrour of the World, the Chastising of Goddes Children, and Higden's Polycronicon, but they were not good copies. The library also comprised some fine illuminated Horae and other manuscripts, including a copy on vellum of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales of the fifteenth century. Mr. Perkins died on the 10th of October 1860, and his library was sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge on July 10th, 1889, and six following days. There were two thousand and eighty-six lots in the sale, which realised eight thousand two hundred and twenty-two pounds, seven shillings. The first Shakespeare folio fetched four hundred and fifteen pounds, the second forty-seven pounds, the third one hundred pounds, and the fourth fourteen pounds. Of the quarto plays, the Second Part of Henry the Fourth sold for two hundred and twenty-five pounds, Othello for one hundred and thirty pounds, and Romeo and Juliet for one hundred and sixty-four pounds. The copies of Love's Labour Lost, Much Ado about Nothing, Troilus and Cressida, and Pericles were poor ones, and realised but comparatively small sums. The Lucrece fetched two hundred pounds.

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