Richard Mead

Jonathan Swift: Works

Dublin: [s.n.], 1737-1738

Sp Coll Hunterian Bo.3.5-10

These six volumes of his collected works were presented by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) to his friend "The Very Learned Richard Mead, M.D. by the supposed Author, who lyeth under many obligations to his Humanity and Friendship Jonath: Swift. Deanry House Dublin Novbr 7th 1739", attested by the dedication inscription in the first volume.

Richard Mead (1673-1754) was a highly  successful medical practitioner, but his great legacy was as a collector of books and art. Born in Stepney, Middlesex, he studied medicine in Leiden but left in 1695 without taking a degree and embarked on a protracted tour of Italy which whetted his appetite for art and antiquarian books. His collection consisted of around 10,000 volumes, including 146 incunabula and many fine bindings, and was especially rich in works on medicine and natural philosophy and the seminal texts of the scientific revolution. He collected books on fine art and architecture, and owned a second folio Shakespeare which had once belonged to Charles I and is now in the Queen's library at Windsor. He also owned many Latin and Greek manuscripts but was not overly interested in the work of his contemporaries, possessing only one novel, Fielding's Tom Jones. On his death, in accordance with his wishes, his collections were broken up, and the auction of his books in 1754-5 was a major event, attracting bidders from throughout Europe, including William Hunter who acquired many volumes which are now in the University of Glasgow Library.

These volumes are on display in the Special Collections Department foyer until 14th April 2011.

Jonathan Swift: Dedication inscription in Swift, Jonathan: Works
Dedication inscription in Swift, Jonathan: Works.

Go to the next book in the exhibition, previously owned by: Samuel Johnson.