Lot 10
  • 10

Douglas family, Dukes of Queensberry

600 - 800 GBP
2,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Correspondence with Lord Cornbury and related papers, comprising:
  • ink on paper
five letters by Henry, Lord Drumlanrig, to his uncle Lord Cornbury, from France, with news of personal and public affairs from the the Battle of Casteldelfino to his acquaintance with Voltaire, 1743-44, with two letters by T.F. Delaporte (apparently Drumlanrig's tutor) to Cornbury, 1743 and one retained draft letter by Cornbury to Drumlanrig dispensing avuncular advice; three letters by Lord Charles Douglas to Cornbury, two written on board ship immediately after his escape from the Lisbon earthquake ("...there is now no Town, all is burnt or Tumbled down, and the Houses that are Standing in the Country are so much shattered that Nobody dares Inhabit them..."), 8 pages, 1748 to 8 November 1755, with a related note by Cornbury, and a draft memorandum on a scheme of reading history for Lord Charles; a copy of a will, presumably that of the Duke of Queensberry; two pseudonymous letters ("Salamander" and "Montezuma”), one to Lord Cornbury, the second to the Duchess of Queensberry, describing Jamaica with a salacious account of a slave woman, Jamaica, 11-26 November 1738 

[with:] William Whitehead, poet laureate, autograph manuscript poem entitled 'To her Grace the Duchess of Queensberry' ("Say shall a Bard in these late times..."), 2 pages, with a covering autograph letter, written in the third person, by Whitehead to Lord Clarendon enclosing the poem and asking it to be sent to the Duchess, and a further letter by the Duchess of Queensberry to Clarendon, "neither daring to receive, or caring to reject" the poem, 1 page, 22 April 1777, in a letter wrapper with seal


This is one of 22 lots that have been removed from Holywell House, Hampshire, the home of the Villiers family, Earls of Clarendon. They chiefly relate to the life and careers of two contemporaries: Henry Hyde, Viscount Cornbury (1710-53), and Thomas Villiers (1709-86), created successively Baron Hyde of Hindon (1756) and Earl of Clarendon (1776).

Cornbury was the last heir to the Earldom of Clarendon that had been created for the statesman and historian Edward Hyde (1609-1674). Cornbury had Jacobite sympathies but was MP for the University of Oxford – with which his family had powerful connections – from 1732 until 1751. He became disillusioned with politics in the later 1740s and spent his final years in France. Cornbury counted Pope and Swift amongst his friends, and was himself the author of pamphlets and at least two plays (see lots 6 and 7). He died, unmarried, in Paris in 1753. Most of Cornbury’s property was inherited by his niece, Charlotte (née Capel). Thomas Villiers, second son of the Earl of Jersey, was her husband. Villiers had spent the 1730s and ‘40s as a diplomat mostly in the German-speaking world (none of his diplomatic papers are included in this offering) and, following his retirement from the diplomatic service, he entered government in the 1760s. As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1771-82 and 1783-86), Clarendon was in Cabinet during the American War of Independence (see lots 14-19).

Catalogue Note

Henry, Lord Drumlanrig, and Lord Charles Douglas were the sons of the Third Duke of Queensberry. Their mother was Catherine (Kitty), née Hyde, was the sister of Henry Hyde, Viscount Cornbury.