Ouvry, Frederic (DNB00)
OUVRY, FREDERIC (1814–1881), antiquary, born on 20 Oct. 1814, was third son of Peter Aimé Ouvry, and nephew of John Payne Collier [q. v.] He was descended from James Ouvry, a refugee from the neighbourhood of Dieppe at the time of the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685, whose family settled in Spitalfields freeholds there in the early part of the century (Smiles, The Huguenots, 6th edition, p. 418). Admitted a solicitor in 1837, he became a partner in the well-known firm of Robinson, King, & Ouvry, in Tokenhouse Yard, but afterwards joined the firm of his brothers-in-law, the Messrs. Farrers, at 66 Lincoln's Inn Fields. On 24 Feb. 1848 he was elected fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was placed on the council of the society in 1850, while for twenty years (1854–74) he filled the office of treasurer. On his resignation he was made vice-president, and on 4 Jan. 1876 was unanimously elected president in grateful recognition of his administrative services. He retired in 1878. He presented the society with many valuable books, and a remarkable portrait of William Oldys [q. v.]
Ouvry was likewise a member of the Weavers' Company, one of the treasurers of the Royal Literary Fund, and a member of other literary societies. Foremost among his literary friends was Charles Dickens, who depicted him in a paper in ‘Household Words’ as ‘Mr. Undery.’ He died suddenly at 12 Queen Anne Street on 26 June 1881, and was buried at Acton.
His fine library of manuscripts, autograph letters, and printed books, including the first four folios of ‘Shakespeare,’ was sold in April 1882, and produced 6,169l. 2s. A catalogue of his collection of old ballads, compiled by T. W. Newton, was printed in 1887. He contributed two papers to the ‘Archæologia’ (xxxv. 379–82 and xxxvi. 219–41), but his literary tastes were not confined to antiquarian science. There was no literary undertaking of mark which he was not ready to promote. He himself frequently printed facsimiles of rare publications, of which only one copy was known. These include: 1. ‘The Cobler of Canterburie,’ 1862. 2. T. Eulenspiegel's ‘Howleglas,’ 1867. 3. G. Markham's ‘The Famous Whore,’ 1868. 4. T. Cranley's ‘Amanda,’ 1869. 5. ‘Petitions and Answers,’ being pieces printed in 1668, 1870. 6. ‘Letters addressed to T. Hearne,’ 1874. 7. J. Singer's ‘Quips upon Questions,’ 1875. 8. N. Breton's ‘The Passionate Shepherd,’ 1877.
A bust of Ouvry, executed by Marshall Wood, was given to the Society of Antiquaries by his family. It had been presented to him by his clients, the Messrs. Coutts.
[Proc. of Soc. Antiq. 2nd ser. ix. 7, 114–17; Athenæum, 2 July 1881, pp. 15, 22, 8 April 1882, p. 445, 15 April 1882, p. 478; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. iv. 20; Solicitors' Journal, 9 July 1881, p. 681.]