Lot 17: Evelyn (John, diarist, founding member of the
December 14, 2012
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: Evelyn (John, diarist, founding member of the Royal Society, antiquarian, numismatist and garden historian, 1620-1706) Autograph Letter signed "JEvelyn" to Ralph Thoresby, written from his son's house in Dover Street, 1p., folio, address panel on verso with red wax seal, Dover Street, 27th June 1702, concerning two coins which Thoresby had asked him about, and with Thoresby's autograph notes identifying the pieces as, "Lord Fairfax enameled upon Gold" and "a crown and 12d obsidional peices", reporting that he and his wife had examined them and they have proved to be what Thoresby had mentioned, and sending "The Curiosity which you mention" as a gift from his wife as "a piece of art worthy [of] yr Collection"; he also informs Thoresby that, having failed to arrange the delivery with Mr Kird [Thoresby's friend, the vituoso], he has left them with Mr Hunt, "operator of the [Royal] Society at Gresh[am] Colledge", "to be delivered to whomsoever comes in your name for them", folds, browned. Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725), antiquary and topographer, author of Ducatus Leodiensis, or, The Topography of Leeds, 1715, whose father, having served under Fairfax during the Civil War, was able after the general's death, to purchase Fairfax's coin collection and library for £185, which he used to create a private museum, the Musaeum Thoresbyanum. ***The gift was probably made as a consequence of Thoresby's visit to the Evelyns the previous year, which he recorded in his own diary, "The famous Mr Evelyn, who has published a great number of very rare books, was above measure civil and courteous, in showing me many drawings and paintings of his own and his lady's doing; one especially of enamel was surprisingly fine, and this ingenious lady told me the manner how she wrought it, but I was uneasy at his too great civility in leaving an untold heap of gold medals before me &c.".