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Portrait of a Gentleman Scholar
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Charles Brasch went up to Oxford in 1927 and de Beer became his unofficial tutor.

He wished to understand fully all that interested him, and a great many things interested him, quite outside those belonging to his chosen field. I was surprised once at his knowledge of the details of cutting and sewing a suit of clothes; he seemed thoroughly conversant with any matter that had to do with the arts and history and literature.

Brasch, Charles.
Indirections : a memoir, 1909-1947. Wellington [N.Z.]
; New York : Oxford University Press, c1980.
Brasch Collection : PR/9640/B67/Z5/A16


De Beer developed an early passion for books and reading.

We had a good number of books in my parents' house, and there were more in that of my uncle Willi Fels …

Fels, a notable Dunedin collector, gave the Library four hundred of his most valuable pre-1801 books. This gift formed the nucleus of what was to become the de Beer Collection. Among the volumes he gave was this illustrated edition of Ariosto's epic poem.

Ariosto, Lodovico, 1474-1533.
Orlando furioso di m. Lodovico Ariosto : tutte ricorretto, & di nuove figure adornato con le annotationi, gli avvertimenti, & le dichiarationi di Ieronimo Ruscelli ; … In Venetia : Appresso Felice Valgrisi, 1587.

The making of a scholar

De Beer attended a small private school in Dunedin. It was attached to Selwyn College which at that time housed the remarkable library of Canon William Arderne Shoults.

At Selwyn I handled older books. … I acquired freedom of approach to them and awareness that some of them invited study of a kind which I learnt later to know as bibliography.

An early edition of selections of the dialogues of Plato bound in blind-stamped vellum.

I dialoghi di Platone intitolati L'Eutifrone, ouero Della santita, L'Apologia di Socrate, Il Critone, o Di quel che s'ha affare, Il Fedone, o Della immortalita dell'anima, Il Timeo, ouero Della natura tradotti di lingua greca in italiana da M. Sebastiano Erizzo, e dal medesimo di molte vtili annotationi illustrati ; con vn comento sopra il Fedone, nuouamente mandati in luce. In Vinegia : Presso Giouanni Varisco, e compagni, 1574.
Shoults Collection : Ib/1574/P


Famous 17th-century views by Loggan of the Bodleian Library. De Beer loved the Library and had a wide-ranging knowledge of what he called its ‘marvellous, though erratic, collection of books'.

Loggan, D.
Oxonia illustrata, sive Omnium Celeberrimae istius Universitatis Collegiorum Aularum bibliothecae Bodleianae, scholarum publicarum, Theatri Sheldoniani; nec non urbis totius scenographia. Delineavit & Sculpsit Dav: Loggan. Oxoniae & Theatro Sheldoniano, 1675.


De Beer became a member of the London Topographical Society in 1936 and he financed the re-publication of Colsoni's Guide de Londres of 1693. Inscribed on the flyleaf is: Charles O. Brasch, his book. Esmond S. de Beer 19 July 1951.

Colsoni, Francois.
Le guide de Londres. Edited with a commentary by Walter H. Godfrey. Cambridge [England] : Printed for the London Topographical Society at the University Press, 1951.
Brasch Collection : DA/679/CP94/1951


6 Views of Regent's Park.
Sussex Place, one of the Nash terraces that encircle Regent's Park, was home to de Beer and his sisters from 1934 to 1964. They remained in residence during the War, the great house surviving a landmine exploding close by. According to Brasch, ‘in spite of very bad nights they remained remarkably cheerful'. De Beer was proud of his address and always referred to it as ‘the' Regent's Park.

National history and views of London and its environs, embracing their antiquities, modern improvements, &c. ... edited by C.F. Partington. London : Simpkin and Marshall, 1834.
Illustration: Davis, Terence. John Nash: the Prince Regent's architect. London : Country Life, 1966.


A monument in St. Peter's, Westminster, erected to the memory of Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Lord John Russel. She is said to have bled to death from a prick of a needle in the forefinger of her left hand.

The antiquities of St. Peter's, or the Abbey-church of Westminster: ... Adorn'd with draughts of the tombs, curiously engraven. The second edition. London : printed for J. Nutt; E. Curll, and J. Pemberton, 1715.

The Diary of John Evelyn

Esmond de Beer was not simply the prince of textual editors, he was also the king of indexers.


The photograph was taken in Charles Brasch's study at 36A Heriot Row, Dunedin, November 1963. It is probable that de Beer is holding the copy belonging to Charles Brasch which is displayed here.

The diary of John Evelyn : now first printed in full from the manuscripts belonging to Mr. John Evelyn and edited by E.S. de Beer. 6 v. Oxford [England] : Clarendon Press, 1955.
Brasch Collection : DA/447/E9/A422/1955


The richness and diversity of both text and commentary demanded more than adequate indexing and de Beer made a careful investigation into the theoretical and practical problems of the large index.

The large index. Journal of documentation, xii (1956), 1-14.


This was de Beer's only monographic publication. The review which appeared in History (March 1940) commends it as a well-edited and attractive reprint with an interesting commentary. He was justifiably proud of it.

Evelyn, John, 1620-1706.
London revived : consideration for its rebuilding in 1666 edited by E.S. de Beer. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1938.
Special Collections : DA/681/EX5/1938


Despite its defects Evelyn's Silva was highly successful and it was one of the principal foundations of the high reputation which Evelyn enjoyed in his day.
The 1706 4th edition appeared shortly after Evelyn's death. It includes a number of Evelyn's works related to gardening. Kalendarium hortense is dedicated to Abraham Cowley who wrote a poem ‘The garden' in praise of Evelyn's choice of books and garden and wife.

And in thy virtuous Wife, where thou again dost
Both Pleasures more refin'd and sweet : meet
The fairest Garden in her Looks,
And in her Mind the wisest Books.

Lines 9-12

Evelyn, John, 1620-1706.
Silva, or a discourse of forest-trees, and the propagation of timber in His Majesty's dominions. ... In two books. Together with ... Terra, a philosophical essay of earth, ... To which is annexed Pomona: or, an appendix concerning fruit-trees, in relation to cyder; ... Also Acetaria: or, a discourse of sallets. With Kalendarium hortense; or the gard'ners almanack; ... All this fourth edition much inlarg'd and improv'd, by the author John Evelyn, ... London : printed for Robert Scott; Richard Chiswell; George Sawbridge; and Benj. Tooke, 1706.


In Fumifugium, Evelyn proposed freeing London from the evil of smoke.

The smoke-producing trades … were to be removed some miles from London, and a belt about … was to be planted with sweet-smelling trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs. … Nothing came of these proposals apart from an enhancement of Evelyn's reputation.

de Beer

Evelyn, John, 1620-1706.
Fumifugium : or, the inconvenience of the aer, and smoake of London dissipated, together with some remedies humbly proposed by J. E. Esq; to his sacred Majestie, and to the Parliament now assembled ; published by His Majesties command. London : Printed by W. Godbid, for Gabriel Bedel ... 1661, reprinted for B. White ..., 1772.


A selection of slim volumes on various topics written or translated by John Evelyn

The history of the three late famous impostors, viz. Padre Ottomano, Mahomed Bei, and Sabatai Sevi. … [London] In the Savoy : Printed for Henry Herringman ..., 1669.

Freart, Roland, sieur de Chambray, 1606-1676.
An idea of the perfection of painting: … Written in French by Roland Freart, sieur de Chambray, and rendered English by J. E. [John Evelyn] esquire, fellow of the Royal society. [London] H. Herringman, 1668.

Navigation and commerce : their original and progress … London : Printed by T. R. for Benj. Tooke ..., 1674.

Of gardens. Four books first written in Latine verse by Renatus Rapinus, and now made English by J.E. [John Evelyn] London : printed by T.R. & N.T. for Thomas Collins and John Ford at the Middle-Temple Gate, and Benjamin Tooks at the Ship in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1673.

A philosophical discourse of earth : relating to the culture and improvement of it for vegetation, and the propagation of plants, &c. as it was presented to the Royal society, April 29, 1675 by J. Evelyn Esq. ... London : Printed for John Martyn, printer to the Royal Society ... , 1676.

Publick employment and an active life with all its appanages, such as fame, command, riches, conversation, &c. prefer'd to solitude London : Printed by J.M. for H. Herringman ..., 1667.

Fellows of the Royal Society

De Beer was a recognised authority on members of the society and wrote articles on it such as ‘The earliest fellows of the Royal Society', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, xv (1937/8), 79-93, as well as many reviews of books about its members.


In 1656 Evelyn met Robert Boyle, the leading English scientist of this period; they formed a friendship which lasted until Boyle's death in 1691.

Boyle, Robert, 1627-1691.
Tracts: containing I. Suspicions about some hidden qualities of the air; with an appendix touching celestial magnets, and some other particulars. II. Animadversions upon Mr. Hobbes's Problemata de vacuo. III. A discourse of the cause of attraction by suction. By the Honourable Robert Boyle, Esq; Fellow of the Royal Society. London : printed by W[illiam]. G[odbid]. and are to be sold by M. Pitt, at the Angel against the Little North Door of St. Paul's Church, 1674.


The CONTENTS are of special interest in this volume of works by John Wilkins.

The discovery of a new world, or, A discourse tending to prove, that 'tis probable there may be another habitable world in the moon. With a discourse of the possibility of a passage thither.
That 'tis probable our earth is one of the planets.
Mercury: or The secret and swift messenger. Shewing how a man may with privacy and speed communicate his thoughts to a friend at any distance.
Mathematical magick: or the wonders that may be perform'd by mechanical geometry.
An abstract of his essay towards a real character, and a philosophical language.

Wilkins, John, 1614-1672.
The mathematical and philosophical works of the Right Reverend John Wilkins ... to which is prefix'd the author's life, and an account of his works. London, Printed for J. Nicholson [etc.] 1708.


Isaac Newton was president of the Royal Society from 1703-27. This 3rd edition of his Principia, with a new preface and many alterations, was the last edition to be published during his lifetime and was the basis of all subsequent editions.

Newton, Isaac, Sir, 1642-1727.
Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica. Auctore Isaaco Newtono, ...
Editio tertia aucta & emendata. Londini : apud Guil. & Joh. Innys, 1726.


Edward Chamberlayne's account of the affairs of England has as its opening phrase:

England, the better part of the best Island in the World …

Chamberlayne, Edward, 1616-1703.
Angliae notitia; or The present state of England: the first part. Together with divers reflections upon the antient state thereof. By Edward Chamberlayne L.L.D. R.S.S.
The eighth edition with several additions. [London] : In the Savoy, printed by T.N. Martyn, printer to the Royal Society, and are to be sold at the sign of the Bell in S. Pauls-Church-Yard, 1674.

Iolo Williams collection

Through his poetry anthologies and articles in publications such as the London Mercury and the Observer, Iolo Williams played an important role in the revival of interest in 18th-century literature and the popularity of miscellanies of ‘poems written on several occasions'. The collection contains many such miscellanies and is also notable for the number of female authors represented. It provides a fascinating insight into what was of interest to 18th-century readers, whether scientific, medical, amorous or tragic. The activities of the august members of the Royal Society were a ready source of ridicule.


Edmund Waller, also a member of the Royal Society, was a celebrated wit and poet. He was also a member of the Royal Society.

Waller is nowadays perhaps underrated as a stylist: the matter is thin, but the style is elegant without being flimsy,

de Beer

To One Married to an old Man

Since thou would'st needs, bewitcht with some ill charms,
Be bury'd in those Monumental Arms:
All we can wish, is, may that earth lie light
Upon thy tender limbs, and so good Night.

p. 135

Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.
Poems &c. : written upon several occasions and to several persons by Edmond Waller ... The sixth edition with several additions, never before printed. London : Printed by H. Herringman and sold by Francis Saunders at the Blew-Anchor in the New-Exchange and Thomas Bennet at the Half-moon in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1693.


A fine edition of Oliver Goldsmith's poem, with woodcuts by the great English engraver, Thomas Bewick. Bewick has been called both the father of wood engraving as well as the father of modern English book illustration. His naturalistic style reflected his close study of nature.

Goldsmith, Oliver, 1730?-1774.
The vicar of Wakefield. A tale. By Dr. Goldsmith. Two volumes in one. Embellished with woodcuts, by T. Bewick. Hereford : printed and sold by D. Walker; sold also by G. Sael, London, 1798.


The second edition of Pope's most famous poem. In 1710 or 1711, a minor British noble, Lord Petre, cut off a lock of Arabella Fermor's hair and this caused a falling-out between the two families. Alexander Pope was invited to write a humorous poem to try to ease the bad feelings. The trivial social tiff is given the treatment of an epic poem and the style is said to have been inspired by Milton's Paradise lost. Engravings are by Claude Du Bosc after Louis Du Guernier.

Pope, Alexander, 1688-1744.
The rape of the lock. An heroi-comical poem. In five canto's. Written by Mr. Pope.
The second edition. London : printed for Bernard Lintott, 1714.


English poet and satirist, Christopher Anstey is known chiefly for The New Bath Guide, a series of poetical episodes humorously depicting contemporary life at Bath.

Anstey, Christopher, 1724-1805.
An election ball, in poetical letters from Mr. Inkle, at Bath, to his wife at Glocester: with a poetical address to John Miller, Esq. at Batheaston Villa. By the author of The new Bath guide. The third edition. Bath : printed for the author, by S. Hazard; and sold by Dodsley, and Wilkie, London; Fletcher and Hodson, at Cambridge; and by S. Hazard, and all the other booksellers at Bath, 1776.


Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673), was the first English woman to write for publication and published twenty-two works during her lifetime.

Virginia Woolf wrote of her:

Though her philosophies are futile, and her plays intolerable, and her verses mainly dull, the vast bulk of the Duchess is leavened by a vein of authentic fire … There is something noble and Quixotic and high-spirited, as well as crack-brained and bird-witted, about her.

Nicol, Alexander.
Poems on several subjects, both comical and serious. In two parts. By Alexander Nicol, ... To which are added, The experienced gentleman, and The she anchoret; written ... by the then Duchess of Newcastle
. Edinburgh : printed for the author, and James Stark in Dundee, 1766.


Scientific descriptions and illustrations of fauna and flora.

The wonders of nature and art; being an account of whatever is most curious and remarkable throughout the world; ... The whole collected from the writings of the best historians, ... The second edition. ... 6 v. London : printed for Newberry and Carnan, sons and successors to the late Mr. John Newberry, 1768.


Inscribed to the members of the Royal Society, this book is listed in Rose's Register of erotic books. The fine engraving is by Frost.

Perry, James, 1756-1821.
The electrical eel, or, Gymnotus electricus : inscribed to the honourable members of the R***L S*****y by Adam Strong, naturalist. The third edition, with considerable additions. London : Printed for J. Bew ..., 1777.


John Armstrong (1709-1779) was a qualified doctor and commonly wrote about medical themes. The art of preserving health, first published in 1744, was immediately popular. His description of the plague has been highly praised.

And soon the surface caught the spreading fires.
Thro all the yielding pores the melted blood
Gush'd out in smoaky sweats; but nought assuag'd
The torrid heat within, nor aught reliev'd
The stomach's anguish.

Book 3, 550-4

Armstrong, John, 1709-1779.
The art of preserving health: a poem. In four books. By John Armstrong, M.D. The second edition. London : printed for A. Millar, 1745.


Robert Blair's poem, The grave, one of the most popular poems of the 18th century is now principally remembered for Blake's illustrations of 1808. This first edition belonged to T. Cowper, not an uncritical admirer of Blair as can be seen from his comments in the margins.

Blair, Robert, 1699-1746.
The grave : A poem By Robert Blair. London, Printed for M. Cooper ..., 1743.


Blake, William, 1757-1827.
William Blake's illustrations to The grave. Facsimile edition. London : Wildwood House, 1973, c1969.
Special Collections : NC/242/B72/A4/1973

Walking holidays

de Beer, E.S.
Raasay today: a paper read to the Johnson Club on 16 March 1951. With a list of birds seen on Raasay in June 1960 by Margaret Crum. (Oxford: privately printed at the OUP, 1961).
Brasch Collection : DA/880/H4/D882


Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784.
A journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. London : printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1775.


Boswell, James, 1740-1795.
The journal of a tour to the Hebrides, with Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Dublin : printed for Messrs. White, Byrne, and Cash, 1785.

4 September 1963

Dear De Beer
Thank you so much for letting me see Donatus. The restoration of the Th. of Marcellus does contain one important point - the treatment of the upper part as a pilastered attic storey …

This letter was enclosed with the Donatus. De Beer was also a member of the Athenaeum Club. He was ever generous in lending the rarest of his volumes if he thought they would be used in a good cause. However, he preferred not to send them through the post.

Donati, Alessandro, 1584-1640.
Roma vetus ac recens utriusque aedificiis ad eruditam cognitionem expositis auctore Alexandro Donato ...
Tertio edita. Romae : Ex officina Philippi Rubej, 1665.

Holiday reading

Gibbon, Edward, 1737-1794.
The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. By Edward Gibbon, Esq;
A new edition. 6 vols. London : printed for A. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1788.

‘A reading of Gibbon'. Landfall, xix (1965), 350-8.


I have been reading Guy Mannering again … The Liddesdale passages are superb. I always wonder whether the place, the reality, would live up to them.

de Beer

He had a prodigious memory and in his blindness he ‘did not need his favourite books to be read aloud, as he explained that they were printed in his mind'.

Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832.
Guy Mannering. Waverley novels, v.3 [Edinburgh : A. and C. Black, 1862-3].
109 Leith Street : Bliss YH/ScoYpr/B


A ‘tec' of the time by New Zealander, Ngaio Marsh. De Beer enjoyed reading crime fiction.

Marsh, Ngaio, 1895-1982.
Died in the wool. London : Pan Books, 1948.
Brasch : PR/9640/M56/D5/1954

Visits to the theatre

Moliere, 1622-1673.
Le malade imaginaire, comedie-ballet. Oeuvres de Moliere. Tome huitie'me.
Nouvelle edition. A Paris : Chez Saugrain pere ..., 1739.


Ibsen, Henrik, 1828-1906.
Four plays … with an introduction by Desmond MacCarthy. Authorized English ed. London : Nelson, 1941.
Brasch Collection: PT/8854/AN39/1941


Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637
Alchymist. A comedy, as altered from Ben Jonson. Distinguishing also the variations of the theatre, as performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. Regulated from the prompt-book, … by Mr. Hopkins, Prompter. In: ‘Bell's British Theatre', vol. 17. London : printed for John Bell, 1777.


Congreve, William, 1670-1729.
The works of Mr. Congreve. In two volumes. ... A new edition. Ornamented with copper-plates. To which is prefixed, a life of the author. London : printed for W. Lowndes; J. Nicholls; W. Nicoll; … 1788.


De Beer was thoroughly conversant with Dryden and wrote a critical review of a 1932 edition of Dryden's plays edited by Montague Summers. Summers replied vituperatively to ‘this elaborately spiteful philippic' saying that ‘I am sufficiently rewarded by the applause and approval of scholars and literary men'. De Beer replied with characteristic brevity (RES : ix, 202-3):

Finding it stated in the Sunday Times that some of Mr. Summer's notes on Dryden's Essay of Dramatic Poesy were derived from W.P. Ker's edition, I looked further into the matter, with the result that I convinced myself that the statement was true, and that Mr. Summers had taken material from other editors as well, not only without acknowledgement, but either disparaging their work or passing over it in silence. It seemed to me that, if such were the facts, they should be made public. It is for your readers to decide whether my note gives a fair statement of the facts and, if so, how far it is justifiable.


Dryden, John, 1631-1700
The dramatick works of John Dryden, esq; in six volumes. London, J. Tonsor, 1717-1735.

The Locke collection

Locke, John, 1632-1704
The correspondence of John Locke edited by E. S. de Beer. Oxford [Eng.] : Clarendon Press, 1976-1989. 8 vol.
Central Library : Books B/1296/A15


Philippus van Limborch, a firm friend of Locke, was entrusted with the publication of the report of the proceedings of the Inquisition at Toulouse between 1307 and 1323. He prefixed to it an account of the Inquisition in which he demonstrated the evil of all religious persecution.

I have had a great deal to do with P. van Limborch's Historia Inquisitionis, … a book most attractive in every respect except one, and the author knew all about the detestability of his subject; he did his job thoroughly.

de Beer

Limborch, Philippus van, 1633-1712.
The history of the inquisition. By Philip a Limborch, ... Translated into English by Samuel Chandler. In two volumes. ... To which is prefixed, a large introduction ... London : sold by J. Gray, 1731.


William Molyneux was a leading member of the Philosophical Society of Dublin,
a body akin to the Royal Society. He was one of the best of Locke's correspondents.

I am just starting on highbrow Dublin in the sixteen nineties. After a good deal of search I have come to the conclusion that there are very slight materials for it … If there were just a little more information so much would be clear. The only thing to do is after a reasonable effort to give in, which is always hateful.

de Beer

Molyneux, William, 1656-1698.
The case of Ireland's being bound by acts of Parliament made in England, stated by William Molyneux, of Dublin, Esq. Dublin : Printed by J. Ray and are to be sold at his shop, 1698.

The diffusion of Locke's ideas

Locke's greatest work, the Essay concerning human understanding, appeared in 1690 and was dedicated to Thomas Herbert, eighth earl of Pembroke.

Herbert was perhaps a forlorn young man; his elder brother, the seventh earl, was notoriously hard-drinking and violent; he would look to Locke for comfort and advice. Locke found in him excellent character and great intellectual ability.

de Beer

Locke, John, 1632-1704.
An essay concerning humane understanding. London : Printed by Eliz. Holt, for Thomas Basset, at the George in Fleetstreet, near St. Dunstan's Church, 1690. First issue of first edition.


First French and German translations of Essay concerning human understanding.

Essai philosophique concernant l'entendement humain : ou l'on montre quelle est l'etendue de nos connoissances certaines, et la maniere dont nous y parvenons traduit de l'anglois de Mr. Locke par Pierre Coste ; sur la quatrieme edition, rev^ue, corrigee, & augmentee par l'auteur. A Amsterdam : Chez Henri Schelte, 1700.

Herrn Johann Lockens Versuch vom Menschlichen Verstande aus dem Englischen ubersetzt und mit Anmerkungen versehen von Heinrich Engelhard Polenen. Altenburg : In der Richterischen Buchhandlung, 1757.


The first edition in Latin of Locke's Essay, and the edition by which the work became known on the Continent, was published in 1701 and translated by Ezekiel Burridge, an acquaintance of William Molyneux. This edition is held in the de Beer Collection.
The edition displayed here is the 1741 translation "in purer Latin style" by G.H. Thiele.

Locke, John, 1632-1704.
Iohannis Lockii armigeri Libri IU De Intellectu humano : denuo ex novissima editione idiomatis Anglicani, longe accuratiori in puriorem stylum Latinum translati : praefixae sunt huic editioni auctoris scripta et vita, nec non elenchus capitum cura M. Gotthelff Henr. Thiele, rectoris scholae Lubenensis. Lipsiae : Apud Theophilum Georgi, 1741.

Dissemination of the ideas of Locke through public debate

Locke's theme is that Christian doctrine, as it is stated in the New Testament, conforms to the dictates of reason; a single article of belief is requisite for salvation, that Jesus is the Messiah.

Locke, John, 1632-1704.
The reasonableness of Christianity as delivered in the scriptures. London : Printed for Awnsham and John Churchil, 1695.


The reasonableness of Christianity was attacked bitterly and scurrilously by John Edwards in 1695.

Edwards, John, 1637-1716.
Some thoughts concerning the several causes and occasions of atheism, especially in the present age : with some brief reflections on Socinianism : and on a late book entitled The reasonableness of Christianity as deliver'd in the Scriptures. London : Printed for J. Robinson ..., and J. Wyat ..., 1695.


The first vindication followed the attack by Edwards.

Locke, John, 1632-1704.
A vindication of the reasonableness of Christianity, &c. from Mr. Edwards's reflections. London : Printed for Awnsham and John Churchil ..., 1695.


Samuel Bold, a Dorset parson, replied to Edwards early in 1697, and continued to support Locke in subsequent publications here published together.

Bold, Samuel.
A collection of tracts, publish'd in vindication of Mr. Lock's Reasonableness of Christianity, as deliver'd in the Scriptures : and of his Essay concerning humane understanding by Sa. Bolde, Rector of Steeple, Dorset. London : Printed for A. and J. Churchill ..., 1706.


Locke thanked Bold for his support in the Second vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity.

Locke, John, 1632-1704.
A second vindication of the reasonableness of Christianity, as delivered in the Scriptures by John Locke, Esq. The fifth edition. London : Printed for A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch ..., J. Pemberton ..., and E. Symon ..., 1736.

Final years

Michael Strachan was a close friend and de Beer and he corresponded over many years. The great majority of quotes in this exhibition are taken from his memoir.

Strachan, Michael.
Esmond de Beer (1895-1990) : scholar and benefactor : a personal memoir Michael Strachan ; with a bibliography by J. S. G. Simmons. Norwich [England] : Michael Russell, 1995.
Central Library: Books : DA/3/D42/SW32


Esmond Samuel de Beer, 1895-1990 : obituary notices and a bibliography. Oxford [England] : J.S.G. Simmons, c1990. Limited edition of 300 copies only.
Special Collections : CT/3990/D42/ER7


Meissen cup and saucer donated to the Otago Museum by Esmond de Beer.
Otago Museum : D 67.288 5 & 6.

Guide Books

In his article ‘The development of the guide-book until the early nineteenth century', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 1952, he identified the classes of books which contributed to their development.


Works combining geography and history were chiefly consulted for their information. In the Renaissance they include such outstanding works as the descriptions of Italy by Biondo Flavio.

Biondo Flavio, 1392-1463.
Roma ristaurata, et Italia illustrata di Biondo da Forli : tradotte in buona lingua volgare per Lucio Fauno. Nuovamente da molti errori corrette & ristampate. In Vinegia : Appresso Domenico Giglio, 1558.


Itineraries, in their simplest form, are lists of places along the roads between various centres, with the distances frequently expressed in terms of post-stages. Set out as an expanded itinerary, Hentzner's Itinerarium was intended to serve as a guide-book.

Hentzner, Paul, 1558-1623.
Pauli Hentzneri, JC. Itinerarium Germaniae, Galliae, Angliae, Italiae ... : huic libro accessere nova hac editione : I. Monita peregrinatoria duorum doctissimorum virorum : itemq[ue], II. incerti auctoris Epitome praecognitorum historicorum, antehac non edita. Noribergae : Typis Abrahami Wagenmanni, sumptibus sui ipsius & Johan. Guntzelii, 1629.


Travellers' narratives vary from records of the individual's experiences to almost entirely objective accounts of places visited. In the romantic period, the emphasis was on the feelings of the traveller. A notable example is Pratt's Travels for the heart in which it takes him all of volume 1 to reach Dover and half of volume II to leave Calais.

Pratt, Mr. (Samuel Jackson), 1749-1814
Travels for the heart : written in France by Courtney Melmoth [pseud.] First edition. 2 v. London : Printed for John Wallis, 1777.


Guides to single towns begin in Rome as early as the 9th century. In the 12th there appeared the first version of the Mirabilia, the marvels of Rome. About the middle of the 14th century another guide for the city began, the Indulgentiae, a list of churches with their relics and the indulgences reputed to be obtainable in them. The item on display contains both bound together in a single volume.

Indulgentie ecclesiar[um] urbis Rome.
[Rome : Marcellus Silber al's Franck, 1515] With: Mirabilia urbis Rome, 1515


Guide books to countries may be said to begin in 1600 with the Itinerarium Italiae of Francois Schott of Antwerp. It was an adaptation of a book by S.V. Pigius with bits added in from other sources.

Crude and slight as is his work, Schott creates a direct relationship between the traveller and the country which he is visiting; the traveller is to look at it for himself.

de Beer

First edition of Schott's Itinerarium with handsome vellum binding.

Schottus, Franciscus, 1548-1622.
Itinerari Italiae rerumq[ue] Romanarum libri tres a Franc. Schotto I. C. ex antiquis nouisq[ue] scriptoribus ijs editi, qui Romam anno iubileij sacro visunt ad Robertum Bellarminum S.R.E. Card. Ampliss. Antverpiae: Ex officina Plantiniana, apud Ioannem Moretum, 1600.

A tolerable copy of a notable illustrated book.

de Beer

Printed by one of the most famous printing houses of the day, Froben of Basel.

Notitia vtraque cum orientis tum Occidentis ultra Arcadii Honoriique Caesarum tempora ... Basileae [Apvd H. Frobenium et N. Episcopium] 1552.

Edmund Warcupp's Italy, in its original Glory… published in 1660, is a translation, with errors and omissions, and a few interpolations, from one of the editions of the Italian translation of F. Schott's Itinerarii Italiae …

de Beer

Warcupp, Edmund.
Italy, in its original glory, ruine and revival : being an exact survey of the whole geography, and history of that famous country; with the adjacent islands of Sicily, Malta, &c. And whatever is remarkable in Rome (the mistress of the world) and all those towns and territories, mentioned in antient and modern authors. Translated out of the originals for general satisfaction. By Edmund Warcupp, esquire. London : Printed by S. Griffin, for H. Twyford, Tho. Dring and I: Place ..., 1660.


Schottus, Franciscus, 1548-1622.
Itinerario, overo Nova descrittione de' viaggi principali d'Italia ... . Padoa, F. Bolzetta, 1628-29 [pt. 1, 1629].


George Sandys's Relation of a journey was one of the most popular of 17th-century travel books. De Beer in his article points out that the account of Campania in the fourth book is almost entirely a compilation of a number of works, among them Schottus's Itinerari Italiae. All the illustrations for Campania are derivative.

Sandys, George, 1578-1644.
A relation of a iourney begun an: Dom: 1610. : Foure bookes. : Containing a description of the Turkish Empire, of AEgypt, of the Holy Land, of the remote parts of Italy, and ilands adioyning. The third edition. London. : Printed for Ro: Allot., 1632.


Schottus, Franciscus, 1548-1622.
Itinerario, overo Nova descrittione de' viaggi principali d'Italia …. Vicenza, F. Bolzetta libraro in Padoua, 1638.

John Milton's Paradise Lost
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden …

Book 1, 1-4

Paradise lost is regarded by many as one of the greatest of the epic poems in the English language. It tells the biblical story of Adam and Eve, God and Lucifer (Satan). Lucifer, the most beautiful of the angels, rebels against the tyranny of Heaven, is thrown out and comes to corrupt humankind. Paradise lost is notable for its sympathetic drawing of Lucifer and this influenced the view of poets such as Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Blake. J. R. R. Tolkien's depiction of satanic Sauron in The Lord of the Rings is said to have been inspired by Milton.


Breeches' Bible open at the map of the situation of the Garden of Eden. The breeches text which gives this particular edition of the Bible its name appears below the map, Genesis chapter III, verse 7.

Then the eyes of them both were opened and they knew that they g were naked, and they sewed figge tree leaves together, and made themselves breeches.

The Bible, that is, the Holy Scriptures conteined in the Olde and New Testament translated according to the Ebrew and Greeke, and conferred with the best translations in divers languages ; with most profitable Annotations upon all the hard places, and other things of great importance. Imprinted at London : By the Deputies of Christopher Barker ..., 1599.


The first life of Milton which contains any sort of genuine critical assessment appeared in John Toland's first complete collected edition of Milton's works, published in 1698. Toland sets the tone of the rational yet enthusiastic response to Milton's poetry:

But the unparallel'd Sublimity and Force of the Expression, with the delicacy of his Thoughts, and the copiousness of his Invention, are unanimously own'd by all ranks of Writers.

Vol.1, page 40

Milton, John, 1608-1674.
A complete collection of the historical, political, and miscellaneous works of John Milton, both English and Latin. With som papers never before publish'd ... To which is prefix'd the life of the author ... 3 v. Amsterdam, 1698.


Milton died in 1674 and fourteen years later Jacob Tonson published the first illustrated edition of Paradise lost, which went into many reprints. The plate displayed is regarded as one of the finest of the seventeenth century and is generally agreed to be the design of Henry Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford.

Satan wakes up on a burning lake in Hell, defeated in the War of Heaven. His words contain heroic qualities of determination and endurance.

What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:

Book 1, 105-8

Milton, John, 1608-1674.
Paradise lost : a poem in twelve books. The fourth edition. First illustrated edition.
London : Printed by Miles Flesher for Jacob Tonson ... , 1688.

They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,

Book 12, 641-2

The extraordinary lighting effects in the Expulsion create a strong sense of dramatic tension. The loss of Eden is emphasised by the sense of danger created by the granite cliffs, the prehistoric beasts and the jagged lightning of the storm.


These 18 papers on Milton by Addison were first published weekly in The Spectator starting on Saturday, 5 January and ending Saturday 3 May, 1712. They met with an enthusiastic reception. Although criticising elements of Paradise lost by the canons of Aristotle, Longinus and Le Bossu, Addison judges Milton to be equal if not superior, to Homer or Vergil.

Addison, Joseph, 1672-1719.
Notes upon the twelve books of Paradise lost. Collected from the Spectator. Written by Mr. Addison. London : printed for Jacob Tonson, 1719.


John Martin's illustrations of Paradise lost.

Early in the 1820s John Martin was given a commission by Septimus Prowett of £2,000 for twenty-four mezzotints of Paradise lost and then a further £1,500 for a smaller set of plates. The production of these plates has been described as ‘one of the most astonishing episodes in the history of book illustration'. The publication was a complete success and Martin's plates won lasting reknown.

Martin's work introduces novel effects in the history of Milton illustrations. The landscape of Eden is his primary concern and for the first time a sense of real place is created by the detailed depiction and treatment of trees and rocks, the use of textures and dramatic contrasts in lighting. Throughout his illustrations there is an amazing depth of space.

Milton, John, 1608-1674
The Paradise lost of Milton : with illustrations designed and engraved by John Martin.. Imperial quarto edition with large plates. London : Septimus Prowett, 1827. 2 v.

… aside the Devil turn'd
For Envy, yet with jealous leer malign
Eyed them askance, …

Book 4, 502-4

Adam and Eve are bathed in light and the soft beauty of Eden is captured in the treatment of the lush, rounded trees, the wooded valleys and the mountains rising in the distance. Satan stands in deep shade under twisted branches.

De Beer publications represented in display

Edited works

Locke, John, 1632-1704
The correspondence of John Locke edited by E. S. de Beer.
Oxford [Eng.] : Clarendon Press, 1976-1989. 8 vol.
Central Library : Books B/1296/A15

Evelyn, John, 1620-1706.
The diary of John Evelyn : now first printed in full from the manuscripts belonging to Mr. John Evelyn and edited by E.S. de Beer. 6 v.
Oxford [England] : Clarendon Press, 1955.
Brasch Collection : DA/447/E9/A422/1955

Evelyn, John, 1620-1706.
London revived : consideration for its rebuilding in 1666 edited by E.S. de Beer.
Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1938.
Special Collections : DA/681/EX5/1938

Articles, letters and reviews

‘The development of the guide-book until the early nineteenth century', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 3 ser. xv (1952), 35-46.

‘Dryden's Essay of dramatic poesy', RES, ix (1933), 202-3. [Letter]

‘The earliest fellows of the Royal Society'. Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, xv (1937/8), 79-93.

‘The early history of London street-lighting', History, NS xxv (1941), 311-24.

‘Francois Schott's Itinerario d'Italia', The Library : Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, 4 ser., xxiii (1942-3), 57-83.

‘George Sandys's Account of Campania', The Library : Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, 4 ser., xvii (1937), 458-65. [Printed in 1610]

‘The large index', Journal of documentation, xii (1956), 1-14.

‘London hospitals in the seventeenth century', NQ, 18 November 1939, 362-3.

‘Mr Montague Summers and Dryden's Essay of dramatic poesy', RES : Review of English Studies viii (1932), pp. 453-6.

‘Places of worship in London about 1738', In: Hollaender, A.E.J. & W. Kellaway, Studies in London history presented to P.E. Jones (Hodder & Stpoughton, 1969), 393-400.

‘Pontac and Pontack's', NQ, 30 July 1938, 74. [London eating house]

Raasay today: a paper read to the Johnson Club on 16 March 1951. With a list of birds seen on Raasay in June 1960 by Margaret Crum. (Oxford: privately printed at the OUP, 1961), 16pp.

‘A reading of Gibbon'. Landfall, xix (1965), 350-8.

‘Sir Charles Firth, 1857-1936', History, xxi (1936/37), 1-13.


Sources of quotes

A list of the bibliographic details of the sources of the quotes that appear in the exhibition is available from the Special Collections Librarian.


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