Between December 1712 and April 1713 Samuel Molyneux (1689-1728) witnessed at first hand some of the finest antiquarian collections in London, Oxford and Cambridge. For the benefit of his learned uncle he described what he saw in seven meticulously written letters, later transcribed into a copy-book and now held in Southampton City Archives. Amongst some of the collections he viewed were those still in the process of being accumulated by the connoisseurs Robert Harley and Sir Hans Sloane ─ which, along with the Cotton library, later formed the basis of the British Museum collections. This article looks specifically at Molyneux’s visit to the Harleian collection which took place shortly before 18 February 1713.
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