UPCOTT (William, 1779-1845, Librarian and Antiquary)

Autograph Letter Signed to an unnamed Correspondent saying that “to a much esteemed friend like yourself, I cannot but inscribe on the first page of this Album some frail memorial of the sentiments with which I regard him. Possibly on turning over its leaves it will remind you, when far removed from us, of those hours of pleasant converse which have now winged themselves away from us, and administer the most agreeable solace of exile and distance by reviewing the recollections which time and absence are too apt, if not to obliterate, at least to impair and diminish. This Book is destined, I conceive, to be the depository of various sentiments from various sources; but the sentiments I am striving to record, are unaffected and sincere, and flowing as directly from the Heart as any of the effusions whether in Poetry or Prose, which may be deemed worthy of a place in your Album. Accept then my warmest wishes for your happiness, mingled with heartfelt vows for your speedy return home (a word which contains within it every blessing that is permitted to us below) to enjoy the verdant landscapes and cool valleys of your native country, in exchange for the scorching gales and rocky soil of the Mauritius...”, with a note in another hand “My home is now ten thousand miles away’ Yet in my thoughts its every image fair Rises us keen, as I still lingered there, And turning me, could all I loved survey...”, 2 sides 8vo., London Institution, 12th June

Born in Oxfordshire, he was the illegitimate son of Ozias Humphry by Delly Wickens, daughter of an Oxford shopkeeper, called Upcott from the maiden name of Humphry's mother. His father bequeathed to him his miniatures, pictures, drawings, and engravings, as well as correspondence with many leading figures. Upcott was initially a bookseller, at first an assistant of Robert Harding Evans of Pall Mall, and then of John Wright of Piccadilly. While at Wright's shop he attracted the attention of John Ireland, William Gifford, and the writers of the Anti-Jacobin who met there, and he witnessed the scuffle there between Gifford and John Wolcot, helping to eject Wolcot. When Richard Porson was made librarian of the London Institution, Upcott was appointed as his assistant in 1806, and he continued in the same position under William Maltby. On 30th May 1834 he resigned his office.

Item Date:  1832

Stock No:  42154      £175

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