Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/128

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Oldys
Oldys
122

deposited in parchment bags suspended on the walls of his room. In this way he covered several quires of paper with laborious collections for a complete Life of 'Shakespeare,' and from these notes Isaac Reed made extractswhich are included among the 'Additional Anecdotes' appended to Rowe's life of the poet. At this period Oldys frequently passed his evenings at the house of John Taylor the oculist of Hatton Garden, where he always preferred the fireside in the kitchen, so that he might not be obliged to mingle with the other visitors. His last literary production was ' The Life of Charles Cotton,' prefixed to Sir John Hawkins's edition of Walton's 'Compleat Angler,' 1760. He died at his apartments in the College of Arms on 15 April 1761, and was buried on the 19th in the north aisle of the church of St. Beuet, Paul's Wharf. His friend John Taylor on 20 June 1761 administered as principal creditor, defrayed the funeral expenses, and obtained possession of his official regalia, books, and valuable manuscripts. The original painting of Oldys, formerly belonging to Taylor, was believed in 1862 to be in the possession of Mr. J. H. Burn of Bow Street. An engraving from it by Balston appeared in the 'European Magazine' for November 1796.

Some of the printed books belonging to Oldys were enriched with manuscript additions of great value. His first annotated copy of Langbaine's 'Dramatick Poets' passed out of his hands [see Langbaine, Gerard, the younger]. In 1727 he purchased a second Langbaine,and continued to annotate it till the latest period of his life. This copy was purchased by Dr. Birch, who bequeathed it to the British Museum. It is not interleaved, but filled with notes written in the margins and between the lines in an extremely small hand. Birch granted the loan of it to Dr. Percy, bishop of Dromore, who made a transcript of the notes into an interleaved copy of Langbaine in 4 vols. 8vo. It was from Bishop Percy's copy that Joseph Haslewood annotated his Langbaine, which is now in the British Museum. George Steevens likewise made a transcript of Oldys's notes into a copy of Langbaine, which is also now in the British Museum, having passed through the hands of Sir Samuel Brydges and Dr. Bliss. Malonc, Isaac Reed, and the Rev. Rogers Ruding [q. v.] also made transcripts of Oldys's notes. The Malone transcript is now at Oxford, but Ruding's has not been traced. In Heber's' Catalogue' (pt. iv. No. 1215) is noticed another copy of Langbaine, with many important additions by Oldys, Steevens, and Reed. In 1845 Edward Vernon Utterson had an interleaved Langbaine, but it is not known what became of it. It is hardly possible to take up any work on the history of the stage or the lives of our dramatists without finding these curious collections of Oldys quoted to illustrate some obscure point.

Oldys also annotated a copy of Fuller's 'Worthies of England' (1662), and the notes were transcribed by George Steevens into his own copy of that work, which Malone afterwards purchased for 43l. A copy of Bishop Nicolson's 'Historical Library' (1736), with a great number of manuscript additions and references by Oldys, is preserved in the British Museum. He also annotated 'England's Parnassus' (1600), and discovered the fact that its compiler was Robert Allott [q. v.] This volume belonged successively to Thomas Warton and Colonel Stanley, at whose sale in 1813 it was purchased by Mr. R. Triphook for thirteen guineas.

Among the works he left in manuscript are: 1. Extracts for a work to be entitled 'The PatronĀ ; or a Portraiture of Patronage and Dependency, more especially as they appear in their Domestick Light and Attitudes,' Addit, MS. 12523. 2. 'Of London Libraries: with Anecdotes of Collectors of Books, Remarks on Booksellers, and of the first Publishers of Catalogues.' Appended to Yeowell's 'Memoir of Oldys,' pp. 58-109. 3. 'Catalogue of Books and Pamphlets relating to the City of London,' fol. This was lent by Steevens to Richard Gough [q. v.] who made use of it in compiling his 'British Topography.' The manuscript was subsequently in Sir John Hawkins's library, which was destroved by fire. 4. 'Memoirs relating to the Family of Oldys,' Addit, MS. 4240. The anecdotes relating to Dr. Oldys the civilian are printed in the ' Gentleman s Magazine,' 1784, pt. i. p. 329. 5. A collection of poems by Oldys. 6. Diary, appended to Yeowell's 'Memoir of Oldys,' pp. 1-29. This diary was discovered in a commonplace book of the Rev. John Bowie (1725-1788) [q. v.], usually called Don Bowie, now in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 22667). It was first printed in 'Notes and Queries' for February 1861. 7. Adversaria, from which a selection of' Choice Notes' was printed by Yeowell in 'Notes and Queries for 1861, and subsequently appended to the 'Memoir,' pp. 30-57.

[Memoir by James Yeowell contributed to Notes and Queries, January and February 1862, and afterwards reprinted under the title of A Literary Antiquary: Memoir of William Oldys, Norroy King-at-Arms, London, 1862, 8vo;