DODD, Thomas

The Connoisseur's Repertory



Manchester and London: Hurst Chance and Co. and Hunt and Clarke. n.d. [1825-1829].

Six parts bound in two volumes. 12mo in 6s (180x110mm). pp. [36], 378ll; [6], 445ll. The first two parts were printed in Manchester under a slightly different title. They were then reissued in London under the present title between 1825 and 1829. Contemporary half calf, marbled paper boards. Spine has four raised bands decorated in gilt, compartments decorated in blind. Contrasting lettering pieces, lettered in gilt. All edges marbled. A little rubbing at the extremities. Contents are in excellent condition with only very slight foxing in places. There is a newspaper cutting from "Willis's Current Notes" from 1857 tipped in to volume one. It is written by a friend of Dodd's, replying to an enquiry from an earlier edition of the magazine. Ownership inscription of Corbyn Barrow, Lancaster, 1849. This is a very nice set of a rare work of staggering, albeit unfulfilled, ambition. Copac locates seven copies in the UK and Worldcat only three in the USA (Boston Athenaeum, Allen County Library, Lehigh University).

A note on the pagination: Title pages for the parts one and three are bound together at the beginning of volume one (the title page for part two has not been bound in) and those for parts IV-VI at the beginning of volume two. The preliminaries for volume one contain the list of subscribers, the dedication page, the introduction to the whole work and the prefatory address for artists whose names begin with the letter B
(i.e. the introduction to volume V). Accordingly the pagination in the preliminaries is confusing (which might be expected as it has been bound together from six parts into two volumes) but, save for one of the title pages, all the pages are present. Similarly, the index for all six parts are bound together at the end of the second volume with the tables of monograms and marks.

Thomas Dodd (1771-1850) led a long and adventurous life. His father abandoned the family when Dodd was ten and his mother was forced to remove him from school. He joined a band of travelling musicians run by a Colonel de Vaux. He was then left to work with a butcher who mistreated him. He ran away and then lived with a Welsh innkeeper and, after this, a vicar before moving to London and working with his uncle, a tailor. He then went to work as a footman where he had enough time to read and draw. He quickly developed great skill as a draughtsman. On marrying his employer’s maid in 1794, he opened a school at Battle Bridge (the small area now between Kings Cross and St Pancras stations). In 1796, he opened a shop selling old books and prints. His huge stock and encyclopaedic knowledge of engraving led to his writing thirty volumes of manuscript notes with biographies of engravers and descriptions of their work. In 1819, he moved to Manchester as an auctioneer. He also began the series of annual exhibitions which continue today at the The Royal Manchester Institution. Between 1825 and 1831, he began to publish his studies of the artists that had filled his notebooks. He began with artists whose names begin with AA, got as far as “Barr” by volume six and then was forced to abandon the project in 1831 for lack of support. However, Dodd was a survivor. He returned to London and ran a sale room near Leicester Square. Between 1839-41, he made a catalogue of the Douce Collection of fifty thousand prints in the Bodleian Library. He also catalogued Horace Walpole’s prints. He died in 1850 leaving a collection of writings and drawings which ran to about two hundred folio volumes, including the biographies of engravers from “Bars” to Z.

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