Person    | Male  Born 31/12/1755  Died 17/12/1846

Thomas Grenville

Bibliophile and politician. He was commissioned briefly in the Coldstream Guards, and served as a member of parliament from 1780 to 1810. He started collecting books from an early age, and by his death he owned 20,240 volumes containing 16,000 titles. The collection included many editions of Homer, Aesop and Ariosto, and a rare vellum copy of the Gutenberg Bible. He bequeathed his collection to the British Museum.

From the British Library: "Thomas Grenville was a politician, diplomat and bibliophile from an elite landowning family. As a younger son, he did not succeed to the family estates and most of his income came from public service. Grenville was the First Lord of the Admiralty within the government led by his younger brother, Lord Grenville, which among its reforming Acts passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807. Despite this new law, slavery remained legal in British colonies until 1833 (and in some British-controlled territories until 1843) and the imperial elite continued to profit from the labour of enslaved people.

"Grenville was a Trustee of the British Museum and a strong supporter of Anthony Panizzi, the Italian political refugee who was to transform the library of the British Museum. Grenville collected around 20,000 titles over his lifetime, including a Shakespeare First Folio. He later left these to the British Museum in recognition of the financial benefit that he had derived from his public appointments."

Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk

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Thomas Grenville

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Thomas Grenville

This bust is a 20th-century replica after G. B. Comolli, 19th century.

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