Bodleian Quarterley Record

Bodleian Quarterley Record is in Prehistory.

Books, Prehistory, Bodleian Quarterley Record 1924

Bodleian Quarterley Record 1924 43

Bodleian Quarterley Record 1924 43 Page 149

William Stukeley (1687—1765) ranks among the great English antiquaries of the eighteenth century. He was the first trained observer of prehistoric remains in this country, was learned in Roman antiquities, and shared to the full in the divagant curiosity of his times. He had in addition the advantage of being a very fair artist. Richard Gough acquired a number of his sketches and engravings, and these are, for the most part, scattered through the guard books known as 'Gough Maps'; but three large volumes in that series (201, 229, 231) are entirely Stukeley's work, and contain valuable collections of sketches of Roman altars, Stonehenge and Avebury respectively. Gough also obtained a number of printed books from Stukeley's library, chief among them being Stukeley's own interleaved and annotated copy of his Itinerarigm Curiosum (Gough Gen. Top. 55). The bulk of Stukeley's papers remained, however, in the private possession of his descendants, one of whom, Mr. R. St. J. Vavasour, presented to the library, in June last, two volumes of very careful architectural and archaeological sketches (MSS. Top. gen. d. 13, e. 61), and two volumes (illustrations and text) of a projected catalogue of the Wilton marbles (MSS. Top. Wilts. c. 4, e. 6). By a curious coincidence the remainder of the antiquary's papers, which had descended in another line, came into the market a month later. These included two items of considerable importance, which had formed the basis of the Surtees Society's three-volume edition of The Life and Correspondence of Dr. Stukeley, namely, a set of archaeological diaries in twenty octavo volumes, and an extensive collection of letters. Their editor contented himself with selections, and his rearrangement of material under counties has its defects; neither did the printed edition reproduce the numerous sketches with which the diaries are illustrated. The Bodleian Library was fortunate in obtaining, at a reasonable figure, the whole of the diaries (now MSS. Eng. misc. e. 121—140), and the mass of the correpondence. The letters have now been arranged in alphabetical order of writers and referenced MSS. Eng. misc. c. 113—114. Two albums of sketches were bought at the same sale. One, lettered 'Religious' (now MS. Top. eccles. d. 6), contains drawings of ecclesiastical and monastic remains; the other, lettered Civil (now MS. Top. gen. d. 14), comprises views of gentlemen's seats, gardens, Yet two other volumes of Stukeley's drawings (MSS. Top. gen. b. 52—3), one of them filled with miscellaneous drawings of antiquities, have since been bought privately. So, in various ways, Bodley has come to possess a large, and that the most important, part of the remains of this great if credulous antiquary.