Item 13.15 - Correspondence of Dawson Turner

Identity area

Reference code



Correspondence of Dawson Turner


  • Jan.–June 1818 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 volume, measuring about 27 x 24 x 8 cm, containing a title-leaf, an index, four blank leaves, and 152 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 In later life he concentrated on antiquarian pursuits, amassing a valuable collection of historical documents and autographs, as well as a substantial library which was eventually dispersed in a series of sales.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.

Letter from Elizabeth Turner (Dawson Turner’s daughter), 22 Jan. (TURN III A21, No. 3).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 23 Jan. (TURN II K1/26).

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 23 Jan.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 27 Jan.

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 29 Jan. (TURN III A10/18).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 6 Feb. (TURN III A10/19).

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 14 Feb.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 24 Feb.

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 20 Mar. (TURN III A10/20).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 27 Mar.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 1 Apr.

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 14 Apr. (TURN III A10/21).

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 15 Apr.

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 22 Apr. (TURN III A10/22).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 25 Apr. (TURN III A10/23).

Copy of a letter from Hudson Gurney to W. J. Hooker, c. 25 Apr.

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 5 May (TURN III A10/24).

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 11 May.

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 18 May (TURN III A10/25).

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 20 May.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 22 May.

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 28 May (TURN III A10/26).

Letter from Mary Turner, 4 June 1818 (TURN III KK4/16).

Letter from W. J. Hooker and Mary Turner, 5 June (see below).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 7 June (TURN III A10/27).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 8 June (TURN III A10/28).

Letter from Mary Turner (to William Palgrave), 9–10 June (TURN II KK1/1).

Letter from Mary Turner, 10–11 June (TURN II KK4/17).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 13 June (TURN III A10/29).

Letter from Elizabeth (Dawson Turner’s daughter) and Mary Turner, 13–15 June (TURN III A21, No. 4).

Letter from Hannah S. and Mary Turner, 15–18 June (TURN III KK4/18).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 19 June (TURN III A10/30).

Letter from Mary Turner (to Katherine Simpson), 19 June (TURN II KK2/1).

Letter from Mary Turner (to Jane Palgrave), 20 June (TURN II KK3/1).

Letter from Elizabeth Turner (Dawson Turner’s daughter), 21 June (TURN III A21, No. 5).

Letter from Hannah S. Turner (to Dawson, Ellen, and Gurney Turner) and Mary Turner, 21 June (TURN II KK4/19).

Letter from Harriet Turner, 21 June (TURN II I1/4).

Letter from Mary Anne Turner, 21 June (TURN II LL1/2).

Letter from J. S. Cotman, 25 June.

Letter from Mary Anne, Elizabeth, and Mary Turner, 26–27 June (TURN II LL1/3).

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 28 June (TURN III A10/31).

Letter from Elizabeth and Mary Turner, 28 June (TURN III A21, No. 7).

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 29 June.

The volume does in fact contain a letter from Mary Turner of 5 June (No. 133), but it does not appear to be wanting a message from W. J. Hooker. The Index for 1818 also lists letter from Cotman without a date, but the position of the corresponding reference in the General Index seems to indicate that it belongs to the previous year. The General Index lists only one letter of 21 June from Harriet Gunn; the Index in the present volume lists two, in different places, probably by mistake.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

On the spine is stamped ‘CORRESPONDENCE | JAN.–JUNE | 1818’.

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Language of material

  • English
  • French

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




        Accession area