PELLET, Thomas (1672-1744) -- J. ATKINSON. A Catalogue of the Curious and Valuable Library of Thomas Pellet, MD, Fellow of the College of Physicians, and of the Royal Society, lately deceas'd. Containing the choicest Editions of the Classicks, the most curious Editions of the Bible in various Languages, and most of the scarce Books in Physick, Surgery, Mathematicks, &c. And a complete Collection of Lexicons...Which will be sold by Auction in...Exeter-Change. London: [Samuel Barker with] Jos. Brigstock, 7 January 1744.
8o (217 x 138 mm). Unbound with original stitching, paper wrappers, uncut (upper cover detached). Provenance: Gregor (contemporary signature on title).
The sale catalogue, containing 1,783 lots, of the library of one of the most eminent London physicians of his time. It is the first book sale with which Samuel Baker (1712-1778), the founder of Sotheby's, was connected. The copy in the firm's file (presented to the British Museum in 1848) has the following manuscript note: "The first Auction sold by Sam. Baker, 1744." Indeed, in Samuel Sotheby's "A List of Original Catalogues of...Libraries...sold by Auction by Mr. Samuel Baker, from 1744 to 1774 London, 1818, the very first sale listed is that of Pellet's Library, and the British Museum's "List of Catalogues of English Book Sales 1676-1900," 1915, attributes, under the year 1744, the Pellet catalogue exclusively to "[S. Baker]". Therefore, although the Conditions of Sale on f. 2r are signed by "Jos. Brigstock, Auctioneer, and Jn. Atkinson, Writer" (i.e. the cataloguer), there can be no doubt that Baker was connected with that sale. Of interest is the guarantee, at the foot of the title, that "this is the Genuine Collection of Dr. Pellet, without Additions or Diminutions". The sale was spread over fifteen nights, starting at 5 o'clock; the number of lots sold each night greatly varied, ranging from 85 to 201 lots. Dr. Pellet first studied classics and then medicine at Padua, together with Dr. Richard Mead, a life-long friend and fellow book-collector; he practised in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. Pellet has been immortalized by a great painter: Hogarth's portrait of him is now in the Courtauld Institute. The last 3 pages (pp. 61-63) of the catalogue list summarily some 80 works to be sold following Dr. Pellet's sale from various sources.