Francis Grose

Life
?1731-1791; English antiquarian and draughtsman; Richmond Herald, 1755-63; FSA, 1757; met Burns during Scottish tour; exhibited tinted drawings at Academy; Antiquities of England and Wales (1773-87), with many drawings; Antiquities of Scotland (1789-91); poosthum., with continuation by Edward Ledwich, The Antiquities of Ireland, 2 vols. (London: Hooper 1791); Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785), reissued as Lexicon Balatronicum (1811); died suddenly in Dublin, having written and printed but seven pages of descriptions, May 1791; bur. Drumcondra; the work continued by Edward Ledwich; Grose appears as the dedicatee of Robert Burns’ poem ‘Tam o’ Shanter’. ODNB.

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Commentary
Mary Cusack, The Liberator [Life of Daniel O’Connell] (London: 1872), makes reference to Captain Grose of whom Burn’s wrote,’A chiel’s among you takin’ notes/And, faith, he’ll prent em.’ (ftn. p.319); also notes a story of O’Connell’s, who wrote that ‘Grose .. came to Ireland full of strong prejudices against the people, but gave way beneath the influence of Irish drollery’, and further tells a story of a ‘sly, waggish butcher’ who survey’s Grose’s fat, ruddy face and corpulent person, only to remark, “Well, plaze your honour, I won’t ask ou to buy since it puts your honour in a passion. But I’ll tell you how you’ll sarve me. … Just tell all your friends that its Larry heffernan that supplies your honour with mate [for meat], and never fear I’ll have enough custom.” (p.320).

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References
Belfast Central Public Library holds The Antiquities of Ireland (London 1791), with Edward Ledwich.

University of Ulster Library (Morris Collection) holds Antiquities of Ireland, Vol. 1 (1791), Vol. 2 (1797).

De Burca Books (Cat. 44, 1997) lists The Antiquities of Ireland, 2 vols. ([printed for] S. Hooper 1791), fol., 250 pls. ALSO, The Antiquities of Ireland. Two volumes. London, Hooper, 1797. Pages (1) iv, viii, xlviii, [8], 88, 138 (plates) (2) iv, vi, [2], xiii, 98,122pp., with pls.; large 4o. [650].

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Notes
Nathaniel Hone (The Elder) sent Two Gentlemen in Masquerade (1774), to the RA (London) - a a satirical composition showing Grose and Theophilus Forrest as two Franciscan friars regaling themselves with punch, one stirring the liquid with a crucifix, but was persuaded to replace the latter with a ladle for the exhibition, and later restored it. (See Ann Cruikshank and the Knight of Glin, Irish Portraits 1600-1860, 1969, p.47.)

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