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Key People

James Dodsley

1724 - 1797

Bookseller & Publisher

Chatterton's Two Letters to James Dodsley

(Chatterton's Search for a Patron is Underway)

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

chatterton c e russell.jpg

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.

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.

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. If Dodsley did reply, I wonder if he recommended that Chatterton approach Walpole?  

Provenance of the two letters:

  • Found at the clearing out of Dodsley's Counting House (Meyerstein, p.251n)

  • John Hugh Smyth Pigott. Sold at Auction 1849 (the same auction sold the Fust Ms.).

Chatterton's First  Letter to Dodsley

21st Dec, 1768

Dodsley 1st letter.JPG

The letter above is the first printing from: Britton's Redcliffe Church 1813 : View

Location of Chatterton's Original Handwritten Manuscript

Houghton_Hyde_Room.jpg

 Location of Chatterton's original handwritten manuscript :

 Houghton Hyde Room, Harvard University.

(Donald F. Hyde Collection)

We await the courtesy of a photograph of the original MS.

Chatterton's Second Letter to Dodsley

15th February, 1769

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

 The First Printing above is from: Britton's Redcliffe Church 1813 :   View

Location of Chatterton's Original Handwritten Manuscript

HISTORICAL SOCIETY PHL.jpg

 Location of Manuscript: The rather grand

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

We await the courtesy of a photograph of the original MS.

Links to Chatterton's Works & Correspondence

   Call it what you will, authentic, doubtful, lost, or plainly wrong - if it was linked with Chatterton it will be included in Chatterton's Works & Correspondence.  This will be the base point from which we can examine every piece of work, and add notes and links accordingly.  

Authentic Works  : View

Lost Works  :  View                                                

Works of Doubtful Authenticity   :  View

Wrongly Attributed Works   :   View

All Correspondence in Chronological Order  :   View

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