Category Archives: Literature

Parlour game

Bonnets are everywhere due to the bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice*. This blog could not resist the temptation to join in, especially when the said article of apparel features so prominently in Douce’s folders of costumes, where the fashion plate … 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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“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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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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“The best engraver on wood in Europe”

Douce’s interest in German prints was not limited to early woodcuts and engravings; it also encompassed the work of contemporary printmakers. Next to what seems to be a proof for a title-page, Douce wrote ‘Unger of Berlin, The best engraver … Continue reading

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Douce’s evening readings

In the evening of 26 September 1830, Douce was reading Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. Scott was a friend of Douce: in 1804, he had sent him a  copy of his edition of the medieval romance Sir Tristrem (now in the Bodleian). … Continue reading

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The spiritual Quixote

Among Douce’s satirical prints, there is a full set of caricatures of clerics after designs by George Moutard (or Murgatroyd) Woodward (1760?-1809). When Mary Dorothy George catalogued the five prints from the series in the collection of the British Museum, … Continue reading

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Scandinavian Noir

Long before subtitled Danish drama reached these shores*, Douce was already championing Scandinavian story-telling of a different sort, as transcribed by his friend the Danish scholar and antiquary Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin (1752-1829). On 28 April 1819, Douce wrote in his … Continue reading

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Douce and Flaxman

Douce counted the artist John Flaxman (1755-1826) among his friends: numerous gifts from the sculptor are recorded in his Collecta and Flaxman’s Compositions from the Tragedies of Aeschylus (1795) was one of the books bequeathed by Douce to the Bodleian. … Continue reading

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The valorous and witty-knight-errant Don Quixote

I recently saw (and very much enjoyed) The Romance of the Middle Ages at the Bodleian: The Romance of the Middle Ages Quite a few beautiful manuscripts and fascinating rare books from Douce’s collection have been included in this exhibition … Continue reading

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