Francis Douce (Biographical details)

Francis Douce (curator; collector; British; Male; 1757 - 1834)

Also known as

Douce, Francis


Keeper of Manuscripts at the BM from 1799; resigned in 1811 for the following reasons:
1. The nature of the constitution of the M[useum] altogether objectionable.
2. The coldness, and even danger, in frequenting the great house in winter.
3. The vastness of the business remaining to be done & continually flowing in.
4. The total impossibility of my individual efforts, limited, restrained & controlled as they are, to do any real. Or at least much, good.
5. An apparent, & I believe real, system of espionage throughout the place & certainly a want of due respect towards & confidence in the officers.
6. The total absence of all aid in my department.
9. The want of society with the members, their habits wholly different & their manners far from fascinating & sometimes repulsive.
10. The want of power to do any good, & the difficulty of making the motley & often trifling committees sensible that they could do any.
11. The general pride & affected consequence of the committees.
12. Their assumption of power, that I think not vested in them.
13. Their fiddle faddle requisition of incessant reports, the greatest part of which can inform them of nothing, or, when they do, of what they are generally incapable of understanding or fairly judging of.
(Bodley MS. Douce e.28)
In 1828 inherited part of Nollekens' fortune. Bequeathed his great collection to Bodleian Library where his papers now are, apart from Nollekens's bequest of prints, including a substantial collection of Dürers, which came to the BM (reported byW.Y. Ottley to the Trustees, 10th July, 1834) .