Tentanda via est qua me quoque possim tollere humo

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A satire ridiculing the installation of Lord Grenville as the Chancellor of Oxford University on July 3rd, 1810. The installation followed a divisive election in which Lord Eldon opposed Lord Grenville on political and religious grounds. Opponents like Gillray saw Grenville’s installation as a triumph for Catholic Emancipation. Here Grenville rises in balloon over a vast applauding crowd in Oxford. Many of the faces in the crowd are indentifiable politcal figures: Buckingham, Stafford, M.A. Taylor, Erskine, Tierney, Holland, Grey, Sidmouth, Cholmonderly, Whitbread, Watkin Williams-Wynn, Fingall, Sheridan etc.

  • Artist: Gillray, James, 1756-1815.
  • Title: Tentanda via est qua me quoque possim tollere humo. Virgil, Geor. [graphic] : He steers his flight aloft, incumbent on the dusky air that felt unusual weight. Par. Lost. Lib. I, l. 225 / J. Gillray, fect &c.
  • Published: London : Publish’d August 8th, 1810 by H. Humphrey, 27 St. James’s Street, [8 August 1810].

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

Acquired November 2011

A literary party at Sir. Joshua Reynolds

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Group portrait of nine men seated around a table set with fruit and decanters, served by a black page. Boswell is on the left, with Johnson to his right talking to Edmund Burke; Reynolds is seated across from Johnson and listens with a trumpet to his ear. Garrick to the left of Reynolds faces the viewer, while Pasquale Paoli to his left observes Johnson conversing at the far end of the table. Charles Burney across from Paoli also follows the same conversation, as he rests his right hand on his chin. Next to Paoli, Warton leans toward Oliver Goldsmith who sits at the head of the table on the right; Warton holds his hand up towards his mouth as if to keep his words confidential. The room is richly decorated with a Japanese screen on the right, curtains, a miniature portrait, and a portrait bust on a pedestal on the left; Reynolds’ pictures of Puck (Mannings 2142) and the Infant Academy (Mannings 2092) hanging on the wall and a bright chandelier hangs above the table.

  • Engraver: Walker, William, 1791-1867.
  • Title: [A literary party at Sir. Joshua Reynolds] / engraved by Wm. Walker from a picture by James E. Doyle in the possession of James Prior Esqre. F.A.S.
  • Published: London : Published July 1st 1848 by the proprietors Wm. Walker, 64 Margaret St., Cavendish Sqre., & Owen Bailey, 128 Seymour St. Euston Sqre, [1 July 1848].

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

Acquired November 2011

Omnium gatherum


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Commonplace book of humorous writings, poems, epigrams, epitaphs, jokes; excerpts from essays, articles, newspapers, and books; and copies of letters to Bunbury family members in the 18th and early 19th century, from Goldsmith, Garrick, and others. Many of the poems, enigmas, and charades are anonymous, others are attributed, including: riddles by Sheridan; Coleridge’s poem The Lawyers’ tomb; Wolfe’s The Burial of Sir John Moore; an epilogue written by H.W. Bunbury for a performance by Mrs. Jordan; anecdotes relating to Sir Joshua Reynolds and his sister; Jekyls’ poem The Tears of the Crewets on taxing salt & vinegar; notes on taxation in America; verses on ladies of fashion from 1760; Praed’s “Epitaph on the late King of the Sandwich Islands; Lord Byron’s On the opening of the tombs of Henry VIII and Charles the 1st …

… Also included are pen and ink drawings and watercolors of travel and humorous subjects, some of which are initialed “HEB” [i.e. Henry Edward Bunbury]. In addition to the pen and ink with wash drawn title page, there are full-page drawings: Gilbralter Jews; Gilbralter; Jews; Les Trois Etats de la Sicile; pen and ink drawing for Southey’s Ballad of the Bishop of Antidius, the Pope and the Devil; and preliminary pencil drawings. There are also half-pages illustrating the text, mostly untitled, as well as a 1815 drawing of “The Fortune Teller”; Oporto and Tyrol; a wash drawing of a boy leaning against a tree; and one and a half sheets of copies of famous autographs, laid in …

  • Author: Bunbury, Henry Edward, Sir, 1778-1860.
  • Title: Omnium gatherum : original, extracts, costume, epigrams, bon mots, traits, etc., [ca. 1815-1852].

Catalog Record

Acquired November 2011

Sheet of figure studies

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Studies of two couples and two men, most with caricaturized faces. One of the couples is dancing (?); the other is shown with the woman sitting on the man’s lap, he with lewd grimace on his face.

  • Artist: Rowlandson, Thomas, 1756-1827.
  • Title: [Sheet of figure studies].
  • Created: [England], [ca. 1776]

Catalog Record

Acquired November 2011

David Garrick, Esqr.

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Portrait of David Garrick standing whole-length to front with legs crossed and leaning on bust of Shakespeare that stands on a plinth in a garden; he holds a stick in his left hand, as he looks to the right; the Palladian bridge at Prior Park can be seen in the distance at the right; proof before title and margin cleaned, with scratched production details.

  • Printmaker: Green, Valentine, 1739-1813.
  • Title: David Garrick, Esqr. / T. Gainsborough pinxit.; Val. Green fecit.
  • Published: [London] : Published April 2nd 1769, by J Boydell Cheapside No. 90, [2 April 1769].

Catalog Record

Acquired November 2011

Scene from the Merry wives of Windsor

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Inscribed by artist on verso: Merry Wives of Windsor / Act 4- Scene 2nd / Fal[staff. No, I’ll come no more i’th basket / may I not go out to[o] soon / Mrs. Page. Alas, three of another Fr[ien]ds brother.”

  • Artist: Bunbury, Henry William, 1750-1811.
  • Title: Scene from the Merry wives of Windsor, act. 4, scene 2.
  • Created: [England], [ca. 1792?]

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

Acquired November 2011

To the lovers of the drama

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A monument to David Garrick with a putto holding a copy of the portrait of Garrick by Sir Joshua Reynolds just below the urn at the top. Below them, the muses of comedy and tragedy mourn along with three other puttis and various theatrical emblems. At the bottom of the monument is engraved a quote from Shakespeare: ” … take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again.”

  • Engraver: Letton, Thomas.
  • Title: To the lovers of the drama / engrav’d by T. Letton.
  • Published: London : Pub. May 23, 1781, for the proprieor T. Letton, by Mr. Picot, facing Hungerford Coffee House, Strand & Mr. Harris, Sweetings Alley, Cornhill, [23 May 1781].

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

Acquired November 2011.