Samuel Lysons (1763-1819) was a lawyer, antiquary and artist who became vice-president and director of the Society of Antiquaries (Scott forthcoming 2013; Todd 1996; Fleming 1934; Steer 1966). He published numerous volumes on Romano-British remains, and the Magna Britannia, with his brother Daniel, which was the most comprehensive topographical description of Britain ever attempted (Todd 1996). Reliquiae Britannico Romanae and his Gloucestershire Antiquities, listed in the London Catalogue (Table 7), were published by Cadell and Davies, and printed by Andrew Strahan, as was his Woodchester volume (1797) and the six volumes of Magna Britannia (1806-22).
This publishing partnership became one of the most successful publishing operations of the eighteenth century, with a global scope. William Strahan was the printer while Thomas Cadell was responsible for selling (Sher 2006, 327, 372; Dille 2004; Besterman 1938). When Thomas Cadell retired in 1793, his manager, William Davies, and his son, Thomas Jr. (1773-1836) took over the business, under the name Cadell and Davies. Andrew Strahan took over the printing side of the business after the death of his father (Sher 2006, 378). Cadell and Davies published a number of impressive folio and quarto volumes on archaeology and antiquities in the latter part of the eighteenth century. They were responsible for D'Hancarvilles' publications of Hamilton's vases (Jenkins and Sloan 1996; Scott 2003, 175; Brylowe 2008), but it can be seen from Table 7 that their publications in this period, with a very high decimal average of £12, all focus on British archaeology and antiquities.
While their publications of Mediterranean classical remains are amongst the best known works of late eighteenth century, volumes on British antiquities were clearly deemed worthy of publication (see also the expensive volumes on British archaeology and antiquities published by Bohn and Longmans Table 5 and Table 9). There are a number of possible reasons for this. In the late eighteenth century, in the wake of the French revolution, cosmopolitanism was increasingly associated with leisure, education and wealth, so that there was increasing concern on the part of the aristocratic and intellectual elite to avoid accusations of cultural treason through displaying an interest in all things British (Colley 1992, 179). However, as clearly shown by Hoock, British artists and patrons who believed their work to be 'British' also wished to be seen as living up to common European standards and a shared cultural heritage; the impressive discoveries of Romano-British remains, recorded by Lysons and his associates, were both classical and British, and hence may have been particularly appealing in this period (2010, 22; Scott forthcoming 2014). An additional factor may have been the restrictions on travel to the continent in the early part of the century, which served to focus attention on British rather than European classical remains (see Henig 1995, 178-79 on the particular appeal of Romano-British antiquities in this period). Rivalry between the British and French was particularly intense in this period, and the most sumptuous publications were an important medium for the assertion of national interests and achievements (Coltman 1999; Harman 2009; Kelly 2010)(see http://archive.org/details/antiqvitiesAthe1Stua); for example, Joseph Banks reported to the King that Daniel and Samuel Lysons' Magna Britannia would 'add dignity to the Kingdom' (Farington Diary, 1923, II, 178).
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