Chatterton's Search for a Patron

Letters to James Dodsley

Bookseller & Publisher

Chatterton is 16 years old and still an Apprentice at Lambert's

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Thomas Chatterton

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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 Two Letters to Dodsley

First published in 1813

Before he wrote to Walpole, Chatterton first wrote to James Dodsley, the 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

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From First Printing in:

Britton's Redcliffe Church 1813

Chatterton's Second Letter to Dodsley

15th February, 1769

 Location of Manuscript:

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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Dodsley second part 2nd letter.JPG

From First Printing in:

Britton's Redcliffe Church 1813

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