Chatterton's Search for a Patron

Letters to James Dodsley

Bookseller & Publisher

Chatterton Age: 16

Apprentice at Lambert's

chatterton c e russell.jpg

Thomas Chatterton

dodsley's bookshop.jpg

Highlights how well known Dodsley was at the time

Robert Dodsley brother of James Dodsley.

No image of James Dodsley. 

Here's one of his brother -

A family likeness perhaps.

The Search for a Patron is Underway

Chatterton's Letters to Dodsley

First published in 1813

Before he wrote to Walpole, Chatterton first wrote to James Dodsley, Bookseller and Publisher. It was only after he failed to 'hook' Dodsley with a sample of his work, that he moved his search for a Patron to Horace Walpole.

Chatterton's First  Letter to Dodsley

21st Dec, 1768

 Location of Manuscript:

Donald F. Hyde Collection

Houghton Hyde Room

Harvard University

Dodsley 1st letter.JPG

From First Printing:

Britton's Redcliffe Church 1813

Chatterton's Second Letter to Dodsley

15th February, 1769

 Location of Manuscript:

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Dodsley first part 2nd letter.JPG
Dodsley second part 2nd letter.JPG

From First Printing:

Britton's Redcliffe Church 1813

It seems that Chatterton wrote only these two letters to Dodsley. Unfortunately, Dodsley's replies are missing. Chatterton didn't take rejection very well and it is likely that he destroyed any replies he did get. I wonder if Dodsley, in his missing replies, recommended that Chatterton approach Walpole?