Bibliotheca Farmeriana: A Catalogue of the Curious, Valuable and Extensive Library, in Print and Manuscript, of the Late Revd Richard Farmer

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The library of the literary scholar Richard Farmer (1735-97) was first and foremost a working reference collection, the books acquired not as treasures, but to be read and appreciated. Farmer's library included all four Shakespeare folios and was remarkable for its Elizabethan literature and black letter, which provided the source material for his scholarly work. Notable acquaintances such as Samuel Johnson, George Steevens, Edmond Malone and Isaac Reed all benefitted from Farmer's knowledge, and Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry drew directly on the library itself. In 1798, Farmer's books were sold at an auction attended by many of the next generation's greatest book collectors. Reissued here is a copy of the catalogue featuring handwritten annotations by an anonymous attendee who recorded the prices paid and the names of many buyers, uniquely capturing the dispersal of one of the eighteenth century's great libraries.