A consideration of the antiquarian and literary works of Joseph Strutt, with a transcript of a hitherto inedited manuscript novel
The first part of this thesis considers Joseph Strutt's life, and his place in antiquarian 8tudieo. Strutt (1749- 1802) was trained as an engraver. Some of his early commissions introduced him to the illuminated, manuscripts of the British Museum, and led to the serie8 of illustrated volumes on antiquarian subjects which he published between 1773 and. 1778 (the Regal and. Ecclesiastical Antiquities, the Manners and Customs, the Chronicle of England.). The next fifteen. years were devoted to engraving and related work, including an extens ively-researched biographical dictionary of engravers: this aspect of Strutt's work is not covered by the present study. In the 1790's, Strutt pubLished two more work6 of antiquarian research, the Dress and Habits and the ports and Pastimes. A number of literary works were published posthuniously:two plays (Ancient Times and The Test of Guilt); a mock-epic poem (The Bumpkins' Disaster); and. a four-volume novel set in the fifteenth century (Queenhoo-wall). A further prose work survives in manuscript. The literary works are studied. in the second part of the thesis, and a transcript is given of the unpublished maiuscript. This study attempts to show how Strutt's interpretation of the early periods of English history and literature helped to form the pre-Romantic taste for the medieval. The plates of his antiquarian works, taken almost exclusively from manuscripts contemporary with the subjects described, familiarised his audience with what had formerly been strange to all but the specialist. His works of fiction are attempts to do the same thing by literary means. Walter Scott was employed. to edit the incomplete manuscript of Queenhoo-JTall: be was encouraged by Strutt's example to take up his own writing of historical fiction.