Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Roscoe, Thomas

ROSCOE, THOMAS (1791–1871), author and translator, fifth son of William Roscoe [q. v.], was born at Toxteth Park, Liverpool, on 23 June 1791, and educated by Dr. W. Shepherd and by Mr. Lloyd, a private tutor. Soon after his father's pecuniary embarrassments, in 1816, he began to write in local magazines and journals, and he continued to follow literature as a profession until a few years before his death, which took place in his eighty-first year, on 24 Sept. 1871, at Acacia Road, St. John's Wood, London. He married Elizabeth Edwards, and had seven children.

The following are his principal original works:

  1. ‘Gonzalo, the Traitor: a Tragedy,’ 1820.
  2. ‘The King of the Peak’ [anon.], 1823, 3 vols.
  3. ‘Owain Goch: a Tale of the Revolution’ [anon.], 1827, 3 vols.
  4. ‘The Tourist in Switzerland and Italy,’ 1830 (being the first volume of the ‘Landscape Annual,’ followed in eight succeeding years by similar volumes on Italy, France, and Spain).
  5. ‘Wanderings and Excursions in North Wales,’ 1836.
  6. ‘Wanderings in South Wales’ (partly written by Louisa A. Twamley, afterwards Mrs. Meredith), 1837.
  7. ‘The London and Birmingham Railway,’ 1839.
  8. ‘Book of the Grand Junction Railway,’ 1839 (the last two were afterwards issued together as the ‘Illustrated History of the London and North-Western Railway’).
  9. ‘Legends of Venice,’ 1841.
  10. ‘Belgium in a Picturesque Tour,’ 1841.
  11. ‘A Summer Tour in the Isle of Wight,’ 1843.
  12. ‘Life of William the Conqueror,’ 1846.
  13. ‘The Last of the Abencerages, and other Poems,’ 1850.
  14. ‘The Fall of Granada.’

Roscoe's translations comprise:

  1. ‘Memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini,’ 1822.
  2. Sismondi's ‘Literature of the South of Europe,’ 1823, 4 vols.
  3. ‘Italian Novelists,’ 1825, 4 vols.
  4. ‘German Novelists,’ 1826, 4 vols.
  5. ‘Spanish Novelists,’ 1832, 3 vols.
  6. ‘Potter's Memoirs of Scipio de Ricci,’ &c., 1828, 2 vols.
  7. Lanzi's ‘History of Painting in Italy,’ 1828, 6 vols.
  8. Silvio Pellico's ‘Imprisonments,’ 1833.
  9. Pellico's ‘Duties of Men,’ 1834.
  10. Navarrete's ‘Life of Cervantes,’ 1839 (in Murray's ‘Family Library’).
  11. Kohl's ‘Travels in England,’ 1845.

Roscoe edited ‘The Juvenile Keepsake,’ 1828–30; ‘The Novelists' Library, with Biographical and Critical Notices,’ 1831–3, 17 vols. 12mo; the works of Fielding, Smollett, and Swift (1840–9, 3 vols. royal 8vo), and new issues of his father's ‘Lorenzo de' Medici’ and ‘Leo the Tenth.’

[Men of the Time, 7th edit.; Allibone's Dict. of Authors; British Museum and Advocates' Library Catalogues; information supplied by James Thornely, esq., of Woolton, Liverpool. Symonds, in the Introduction to his translation of Cellini's Autobiography, criticises his predecessor's translation in severe terms.]

C. W. S.