‘The result is a triumph.’ Giles Mandelbrote reviews ‘I do not eat the bread of Idleness’.

MYERS, Robin, Andrew BURNETT, and Renae SATTERLEY.  ‘I do not eat the bread of idleness’: Dr Andrew Coltée Ducarel 1713–1785, Huguenot, Lawyer, Librarian, Antiquary, and Numismatist.  The Garendon Press, 2023.

Review by Giles Mandelbrote for the ABA Winter 2024 newsletter.  The full review can be found here.

Robin Myers, an Honorary Member of the ABA as well as former President of the Bibliographical Society and Archivist of the Stationers’ Company, was waiting with increasing impatience for the publication of this book at the time of her death in May last year. Even in extreme old age, she was not content simply to collect together and recycle papers which she had published in a range of places between 1996 and 2018. Instead she assembled what amounted to a research team to help her revise her earlier work and she both commissioned supplementary pieces and
wrote some herself.

The result is a triumph: a series of interconnected essays which weave through the life and many-sided career of Andrew Ducarel, who was Librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, a specialist in the Roman law practised in the ecclesiastical and Admiralty courts, an inquisitive observer of landscape, architecture and archaeological finds, and a collector of books, coins and medals. Robin Myers herself contributes three extensively revised and updated chapters on Ducarel’s pioneering attempts to classify Anglo-Norman gothic architecture, on his work from the 1750s until the 1780s as one of the longest-serving Lambeth Librarians, and on the formation of his own personal library, sold by auction in 1786, before finally asking ‘Was Ducarel a bibliomaniac?’

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