Category Archives: Books

Grinding fools

Many of Douce’s prints of fools are emblems from Dutch and German books, like the etching below: The scene is set in a watermill, where an elegantly dressed man is startled at the sight of batches of little fools being … Continue reading

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The cook’s oracle

In December 1826, Douce wrote to his friend George Cumberland:  If you will write a book of cockery for your Bristoldians & other gormandizers, you will get as rich as Dr Kitchener, who told me that he has sold 20,000 … Continue reading

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A medley print

Medley prints like the one below really capture the sense of mixture, the hotchpotch quality, and the endless referencing that characterize Douce’s folders: Unlike the impression in the BM, Douce’s print bears the inscription ‘Designed, and Engraven, and Sold, by S: … Continue reading

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A tale for Christmas 1779

On 15 January 1821, Douce wrote in his Book of Coincidences that he “had had a strange dream about Lady Craven”. Elizabeth Berkeley (1750-1828), who would become margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach-Bayreuth after her second marriage following the death of Lord Craven in … Continue reading

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“The Puck of Commentators”

One of Douce’s most assiduous correspondents in the 1790s was the Shakespeare scholar George Steevens (1736-1800), of whom the DNB says that “his wit and the associated learning […] earned him the name of the Puck of Commentators”: From his … Continue reading

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“To the friend of curious and interesting things”

Among Douce’s portraits of artists, there is a silhouette of the Swiss engraver, publisher, and art dealer Christian von Mechel (1737-1817): The print is annotated with Mechel’s dedication to Douce: I beg dear Mr Douce, the friend of curious and … Continue reading

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Douce’s Persian manuscripts

Among Douce’s portraits of ‘Learned Foreigners’ there is a plate from the European Magazine depicting the traveller Mirza Abu Talib Khan Isfahani (1752-1806): Douce wrote under the portrait: “This gentleman paid me a visit in Gower Street”. Their meeting must have … Continue reading

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German tales

The title-page of the Historische Kalender in the previous post is not the only representation of the story of William Tell in Douce’s collection. A series of plates entitled Wilhelm Tell. Nach Schillers Schauspiel and published by Philipp von Foltz … Continue reading

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