John Woodward’s Library & Museum;
Priced Throughout in a Contemporary Hand

A Catalogue of the Library, Antiquities, &c. of the Late Learned Dr. Woodward, Fellow of the College of Physicians, and of the Royal Society; and Professor of Physick in Gresham-College. Which will begin to be sold by Auction, at Mr. Cooper’s…on Monday the 11th Day of November, 1728…By Mr. Christopher Bateman, Bookseller; and Mr. John Cooper.

4, viii, 287 pp. 8vo, early 20th cent. black half-morocco (joints rubbed, a little dusty & browned throughout, final two leaves with some pale staining), spine gilt. [London: Mr. King’s et al., 1728].

The rare sale catalogue of the library and antiquities of John Woodward (1665-1728), professor of physic at Gresham College, London, who made important contributions to botany and the earth sciences (see D.S.B., XIV, pp. 500-03, for an account).

Woodward was one of the innovative collectors of his time. “Early on Woodward wrote out meticulous instructions for making observations and collections for natural history and antiquities in Brief Instructions (1696), which demonstrates the universality of his interests in collecting. The rules he subsequently developed for collection and curation of geological material by his collectors (implemented from about 1700 and detailed in his 1728 work, Fossils of All Kinds) remain hard to improve on. He was thus a real pioneer in the world of museology. Between 1704 and 1706 he employed John Hutchinson (1674–1737) to collect material for him throughout England and Wales — probably the first such professional activity in Britain…

“Woodward was also very active as an antiquary; he believed that the evidence of antiquities was like that of fossils and could be used to reconstruct the early history of the world and mankind. Here again he collected artefacts of all kinds, including Egyptian antiquities…His museum was visited by many and described by Ralph Thoresby, William Nicolson, and John Strype, among others, as well as by the foreign tourist Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach…The auction catalogue drawn up at Woodward’s death by Robert Ainsworth shows the great range of his antiquarian collections and library. Among many ancient objects he assembled was an alleged Roman shield, which subsequently went to the British Museum, of which he was very proud.”–ODNB.

Woodward’s library, numbering 4756 lots, was a large and important collection, almost exclusively devoted to science, medicine, and natural history. The contents are described on the first 207 pages. An excellent author index occupies pages 208-45 and his collection of prints and drawings (106 lots) follows on pages 246-49. Plant and animal specimens are listed on pages 249-52. The second part — pages 253-77 — describes the objects in his museum. Pages 284-87 list the omitted books. This copy is priced throughout in a contemporary hand.

Very good copy, with the bookplate of Frank Marcham, the London bookseller, who formed a wonderful collection of early English sale catalogues. Bound-in after is a copy of the third edition of Woodward’s Remarks Upon the Antient and present State of London, Occasion’d by some Roman Urns, Coins, and other Antiquities, Lately discover’d (1723).

❧ Arthur MacGregor, “The Cabinet of Curiosities in Seventeenth-century Britain” in The Origins of Museums (eds. Impey & MacGregor), p. 210.

Price: $6,500.00

Item ID: 6720