Catalogue of the Devonshire Collection, c.1761 - Chatsworth House - CH 36/4/1-6

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Catalogue of the Devonshire Collection, c.1761 - Chatsworth House - CH 36/4/1-6
FINA IDUnique ID of the page  14789
TitleTitel of the book. Catalogue of the Devonshire Collection, c.1761
InstitutionName of Institution. Chatsworth House
PlacePlace of publication of the book, composition of the document or institution. Chatsworth 42° 54' 56.40" N, 96° 30' 57.39" W
InventoryInventory number. CH 36/4/1-6
AuthorAuthor of the document.
CollectorCollector. William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire
Catalogue dateDate when the catalogue was issued: day - month - year . 1761
LanguageLanguage of the correspondence English
Associated personsNames of Persons who are mentioned in the annotation. Anne-Claude de Caylus, Nicola Francesco Haym, Richard Mead, Enrique Flórez, Michael Lort, William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire
LiteratureReference to literature. Caylus s.d. 21, Flórez 17572, Pagan 1993, p. 1203, Burnett 2020b, pp. 1645-7, 1030, 10774
External LinkLink to external information, e.g. Wikpedia 
KeywordNumismatic Keywords  Roman , Roman Imperial , Silver , Bronze , Roman Republican , English , British Coins , Contorniates , Greek , Gold , Jahangir , Allectus , Julius Caesar , Theft
Grand documentOriginal passage from the "Grand document".

'A manuscript catalogue was made of the collection, and six relevant volumes survive in the archives at Chatsworth House (CH 36/4/1 to/6). They probably represent the whole catalogue although there is no listing of the Greek coins, apart from the gold ones in CH 36/4/6 and the large ones in CH 36/4/1. So it is possible that there was once a further volume. The surviving volumes cover, following their numbering in the archives, and as described on their spines, their titles pages (with an outline of their contents added in brackets, as necessary):

1. Nummi Argentei Denarii. Imp. Rom. Denarii. (Roman Imperial silver)
2. Nummi Aerei Romani. Devonshire Collection. Great & Middle Brass. (Larger Roman Imperial bronze)
3. Nummi Argent. Famil. Consular Denarii. (Roman Republican silver)
4. Catalogue of English Coins and Medals. Catalogue of English Coins. In the Collection of His Grace the Duke of Devonshire. (British coins and medals)
5. Nummb Orci I (sic). Medallions, Contorniates, Medals & Small Brass. (Roman bronze medallions and contorniates, and smaller Roman bronze coins)
6. Nummi Aurei. Catalogus Nummorum Aureorum in Bibliotheca Devoniana (Greek and Roman gold, plus astrological coins of Jahangir)

The level of cataloguing is quite detailed, with the inscriptions and the designs being described for the ancient coins, and there is usually a bibliographic reference. The catalogue was made drawer by drawer, and the drawer numbers appear at the top tight of the relevant page (e.g., Aur1, Aur2, etc.).

There is enough internal evidence to enable us to establish a date of c. 1761 for the catalogue. In the catalogue of the Roman gold coins (CH 36/4/6), it is stated that ‘The references here are to \Morell of/ the King of Frances Medals \etched &/ published by Count Caylus & to Lord Pembrokes Medals,’ books published in 1745 and 1746, respectively. In addition, the same volume includes a rare aureus of the Romano-British usurper Allectus (293–6), which was purchased by Lord Cavendish—as he still was for a few months—at the sale of the collection of Richard Mead in early 1755. One of the Roman bronze coins in CH 36/4/5, of Julius Caesar, has a reference to a book by Nicola Haym published in 1719–20, but also to ‘Florez’, a book published in 1757. The clearest indications are, however, in the catalogue of English coins (CH 36/4/4), where the coins are arranged chronologically by denomination. The latest gold coin is of 1761, and the same date appears for a proof coin of George III.

There is nothing later, but, sometime after the catalogues had been drawn up, one entry in the volume of Republican coins (CH 36/4/3) was annotated in pencil, ‘The first medal wanting June 1773.’ Thus the volumes can formally be dated to between 1761 and 1773, and, as there are no entries later than 1761, it seems likely that they were written in c. 1761–4.' (Burnett 2020b, pp. 1645-6)


'There is also a further volume (CH 36/4/7), of a different size and labelled NUM MAX MOD (‘Coins of the largest size’) on the spine, which consists of drawings in red and black ink of many Roman medallions. It has no sign of date or authorship.' (Burnett 2020b, p. 1647)


'Another loose piece of paper kept in the catalogue of English coins (CH 36/4/4) gives Michael Lort’s (‘M.L.’) account of a robbery in 1788. His account shows that 177 gold coins were lost, but nothing else. The thief, ‘Mason’, was presumably an employee of the Duke at Devonshire House.' (Burnett 2020b, pp. 1647-8, also with transcription)


  1. ^  Caylus, Anne-Claude de (s.d. 1762), Numismata aurea Imperatorum Romanorum e Cimelio Regis christianissimi delineata et aeri incisa a comite de Caylus.
  2. ^  Flórez, Enrique (1757), Medallas de las Colonias, Municipios y pueblos antiguos de España, I, Antonio Marin, Madrid, [1] h. de grab., [16], 408 p., XXIII h. de lam. grab., [1] h. de grab. pleg. ; 4º
  3. ^  Pagan, Hugh (1993) 'Andreas Fountaine Eques Auratus A.A.A. F III VIR', British Numismatic Journal 63, pp. 114-22.
  4. ^  Burnett, Andrew M. (2020), The Hidden Treasures of this Happy Land. A History of Numismatics in Britain from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, BNS Special Publ. No 14 = RNS Special Publ. No 58, London, Spink & Son.