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BRITTON, John (1771--1857)
Remarks on the monumental bust of Shakspeare, at Stratford-upon-Avon: with two wood-cuts, representing front and profile views of the bust.
London: published by the author. Printed by C. Whittingham, Chiswick, 1816.
8 p. : [2] wd-cut illus. ; 22.2 cm. (8°)

Signed and dated at the end 'J. Britton April 23, 1816. The Anniversary of the Birth and Death of Shakspeare, and the Second Centenary after his Decease.' This pamphlet was intended to promote the sale of an engraving by William Ward A.R.A. (1766--1826) of a portrait of Shakespeare by Thomas Phillips R.A. (1770--1845) based on the much-restored early 17th-century memorial bust in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. John Britton F.S.A. published widely on literature, topography and the arts, and wrote extensively on Shakespeare and in celebration of his works and fame. No doubt on the strength of this enthusiasm he was later made honorary secretary of the society formed in 1835 for the renovation and restoration of the memorial and bust at Stratford. His friend John Britton's Remarks would have been of particular interest to Soane since he installed a cast of George Bullock's copy of the bust as the focal point of a shrine to the Bard in his Museum - the so-called 'Shakespeare Recess' off the staircase at 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields. See Peter Thornton and Helen Dorey, A miscellany of objects from Sir John Soane's Museum (London 1992), p.96. Soane along with Hazlitt and Lamb was one of the few writers (in the various drafts of his Description) to keep the traditional spelling of Shakespeare's name against the publishing tendency of the period 1770--1840 which used variants of the form 'Shakspear(e)'. Hooked on Books 8.6.

Copy Notes Soane bought a 'Portrait of Shakespeare, proof [i.e. the engraving by James Ward] & [Britton's] remarks on' from Britton himself for £1 in January 1816. (Archive 16/10/70). A bundle consisting of an unspecified number of copies of this pamphlet was found in the third of three repositories containing correspondence, miscellaneous papers and objects, sealed by Soane in November 1836 with directions that they should be opened on 22 November (the anniversary of his wife's death) in 1866, 1886 and 1896 respectively.

Binding Original integral printed paper wrapper.

Reference Number 1791


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