- Also known as
primary name: Beverland, Adrian
- individual; author/poet; British; Male
- Life dates
- Adrian or Hadrian. Author, collector and pornographer. b. Zealand, and became an excellent classicist. He set himself the project of compiling a thesaurus of eroticism, in which all quotations from the classics relating to the realm of Venus would be collected with a commentary. His 'Peccatum Originale' (The original sin) of 1678 put forward the idea that the original sin was sexual intercourse rather than merely eating an apple, and he was expelled from the University of Leyden. He came to England in March 1680, where he was appointed secretary by Isaac Vossius, canon of Windsor, whose maid Rebecca Tibbith became his mistress.
For his purchase for the large price of £11 of a bundle of engravings of 'puellae nudae' at the Anglesey sale of 25 October 1685, see T.A.Birrell in R.Myers et al (eds), 'Under the Hammer', 2001, p.61. For his album of collaged fragments of such prints, see BL Ms.Add.30384.
A small inherited fortune allowed him to become a great collector of books, prints and objets d'art. When Christiaan Huygens visited him in Newport Street in 1692 they were stored in locked cases four to five feet wide. He was a well-known figure in the London art world, and Isaac Beckett made two curious prints of him and his mistress which contain many jokes comprehensible only by his fellows and intimates. The lettered state CS 6 calls him critic and judge of medals, insects, shells, pictures and rare books. Beverland's own collection was sold in 1711 at the house of the late Simon du Bois.
After Vossius's death in 1689 Beverland began a long decline into drunkenness, indigence and paranoia. The correspondence of Sir Hans Sloane contains many of his mad letters written in dog-Latin, addressed from taverns, offering to sell him works, or simply begging for money. Various pamphlets which he published in the form of letters to him from Perino del Vaga identify two of his chief persecutors as the collector John Bagford and the publisher Pierce Tempest, though what they had done to deserve this is unclear.
- E.J.Dingwall, 'Very peculiar people, portrait studies in the queer, the abnormal and the uncanny', London 1950, pp.145-77.
R.de Smet, 'Hadrianus Beverlandus', in 'Verhandlungen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenscappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van Belgie: Klasse der Letteren', L 1988, pp.5-187.