Fine probate of will for Bristol distiller and Alderman Arthur Taylor, including an inventory of his library by shelf and instructions for its distribution. Library Catalog, obit 1745 Arthur Taylor.

Fine probate of will for Bristol distiller and Alderman Arthur Taylor, including an inventory of his library by shelf and instructions for its distribution.

Bristol, September 2, 1743. Four leaves of parchment fastened together along the lower edges, approx. 26.5 x 31.75 inches, plus attached certificate of probate with stamps, approx. 8 x 8.25 inches. Most of the wax from the seal gone, some soiling to the outside of the portfolio and a little wear along a few edges; in very good to fine condition. Item #18059

A detailed look at library presumably built on gin: Arthur Taylor was a distiller of some substance who owned property in Bristol (including a fine building on Welsh Back on the banks of the Avon), and he had in 1731 and 1732 served as mayor of the city. (He also held other civil posts, including Sheriff in 1719-1720 and Alderman from 1735 until his death in 1745). This will of course provides insights into both his real property and his chattels, as well as family relations (viz., his niece, Ann Harris, is appointed executrix of the estate; his daughter-in-law Sarah Short is noted in the will as an apothecary in Bristol and is to be allowed to continue her tenancy in a building owned by Taylor as long as she remains in business), as well as some of Taylor’s charitable impulses: a pump he had built on the river is to be given to the city for the use of the poor. What stands apart in this will is the entire page given over to a shelf-list of Taylor’s library of books “as they stood Novr. 1742 now Sept. 2nd 1743,” some 180 or so books, generally given in short title and often with at least a glance at the author. Taylor’s upper shelf of folios includes a nice run of Ogilby, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, Thomas Fuller’s Holy Wars and “Sight of the Land of Canaan” (likely Fuller’s Pisgah-Sight of Palestine), “Hobbs Leviathan” (this followed by “A True His’t of the Civil W’rs of Eng’d &c.”—this a copy of Hobbes’s Behemoth: the history of the causes of the civil wars of England?), and a Coke upon Littleton. (Puffendorf also appears on another shelf.) The other shelves include a range of topgraphical works (several noted on the quarto shelf), historical works, religious works (appropriate to a Bristol library, he has both Barclay’s Apology and Burnet against the Quakers; indeed, there is much from the prolific Bishop Burnet), and a variety of literature, including “a ffine Large Hudibras guilt [gilt?],” Pope’s Iliad, a Robinson Crusoe, “Dean Swift’s Miscellany’s,” and “Athenian Sports or paradoxes”—this last John Dunton’s Athenian Sport; or, Two-Thousand Paradoxes Neatly Argued (London, 1707), this title with eight uncredited contributions from John Donne. Marginal notes distribute titles to specific legatees, and an addendum at the foot of the inventory notes “And all my other books at home of Abroad bound or Sticht Pamphlets or loos printed papers whatsoever not mentioned in this cataloge I order toe give unto my niece Grace Dobbins.” References: The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 741. Bristol lists: municipal and miscellaneous. Compiled by Alfred B. Beaven. Bristol, [1899]. James Fawckner Nicholls & John Taylor. Bristol Past and Present: Civil and modern history (vol. 3). Bristol, 1882.

Price: $2,000.00

See all items in Books About Books, Law