Item 13.12 - Correspondence of Dawson Turner

Identity area

Reference code



Correspondence of Dawson Turner


  • 1816 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 volume, measuring about 27 x 24 x 9 cm, containing a title-leaf, an index, four blank leaves, and 174 letters and other papers pasted onto guards. There is a stiff fly-leaf at the front and another at the back. Half-bound in light-brown leather and marbled paper.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Dawson Turner was born and spent much of his life at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. He was admitted as an undergraduate at Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1793, but returned to Yarmouth before graduating, in order to take his place in the family banking business.

For some years Turner's chief interest was botany, particularly mosses, and he published several works on the subject and corresponded with many of the notable botanists of his day. In later life he concentrated on antiquarian pursuits, amassing a valuable collection of historical documents and autographs, as well as a substantial library which was eventually dispersed in a series of sales. He was a Fellow of various learned bodies, including the Royal Society, the Linnaean Society, and the Society of Antiquaries.

In 1796 Turner married Mary Palgrave, by whom he had eight surviving children. Mary Turner and her daughters were talented amateur artists; they were tutored in drawing by John Sell Cotman and also mastered the arts of etching and lithography. Between them they produced a significant number of sketches and prints, especially portraits and architectural studies, examples of which were often used by their father to embellish his books.

Archival history

See the general note under O.13.1. The following letters were removed from the volume before it came to the Library. Their current locations, where known, are shown in brackets (NRO = Norfolk Record Office).

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 2 Jan. 1816.
Letter from W. J. Hooker, 14 Jan. 1816.
Letter from W. J. Hooker, 28 Jan. 1816.
Letter from W. J. Hooker, 28 Mar. 1816.
Letter from W. J. Hooker, 21 Apr. 1816.
Letter from J. S. Cotman, May 1816 (NRO, MC2487/16?, dated May 1814).
Letter from T. J. Mathias, 12 July 1816.
Letter from Hudson Gurney, 15 July 1816 (TURN III A10/5).
Letter from Mary Turner, 20 July 1816 (TURN III A33/2).
Letter from Mary Turner, 23 July 1816 (TURN III A33/3).
Letter from Mary Turner, 28 July 1816 (TURN III A33/4).
Letter from Hudson Gurney, 23 Nov. 1816 (TURN III A10/6).
Letter from W. J. Hooker, 26 Nov. 1816.
Letter from Hudson Gurney, 30 Nov. 1816 (TURN III A10/7).
Letter from Hudson Gurney, 14 Dec. 1816 (TURN III A10/8).
Letter from Hudson Gurney, 26 Dec. 1816 (TURN III A10/9).

The undated letter from Hooker is listed in the volume Index between letters of 21 April and 26 November.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

On the spine is stamped ‘CORRESPONDENCE | JAN.–DEC. | 1816’.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The documents are numbered in the order in which they stand. In one case different numbers were mistakenly given to parts of the same document when the contents were originally numbered. This superfluous number (No. 39) is now marked ‘Number not used’.

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Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • German

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Dates of creation revision deletion

This description was created by A. C. Green in 2021.




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