Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 13 November 1761
I went as soon as I received your last letter, to chuse papers for you at Bromwich's. I applaud your determination, for it is mere pedantry in Gothicism to stick to nothing but altars & tombs, & there is no end of it, if we are to sit upon nothing but Coronation-chairs, nor drink out of nothing but chalices & flagons. the idea is sufficiently kept up, if we live in an ancient house, but with modern conveniences about us. nobody will expect the inhabitants to wear ruffs & farthingales. besides these things are not to be had, unless we make them ourselves.
I have however ventured to bespeak (for the staircase) the stucco-paper of 3D a yard, wch I mention'd to you before. it is rather pretty, & nearly Gothick. the border is entirely so, & where it runs horizontally, will be very proper; where perpendicularly, not altogether so: I do not see, how this could be avoided. the crimson paper is the handsomest I ever saw; from its simplicity, I believe, as it is nothing but the same thing repeated throughout. Mr. Trevor (Hambden ) design'd it for his own use. the border is a spiral scroll, also the prettiest I have seen. this paper is 8D: a yard. the blew is the most extravagant, a mohair-flock paper of a shilling a yard, wch I fear you will blame me for; but it was so handsome, & look'd so warm, I could not resist it. the pattern is small, & will look like a cutvelvet: the border a scroll like the last, but on a larger scale. you will ask, why the crimson (wch was to be the best) is not a mohair-paper too? because it would have no effect in that sort of pattern; & it is as handsome as it need to be, without that expence. the library paper is a cloth-colour: all I can say for it is, that it was the next best design they had after the former. I think it is 7D1/2 a yard. they do not keep any quantity by them (only samples of each sort) but promise, they shall be finish'd in a week, & sent to your Brother's, with whom I have left the bill, as I go myself to Cambridge in a day or two. indeed this is a very improper time to trouble him, tho' when I call'd there last night, I was told she was a great deal better. I did not know of his loss till you told me: on wch I went to ask how they did, & found him truly in a very deplorable situation. he said he had wrote to you, but I do not know, whether he was able to give you a full acco[...]
Egerton MS 2400, f. 152, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/bldept/manuscr/>
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter CII, vol. ii, 395-396
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CX, vol. iii, 291-293
- The Letters of Thomas Gray, including the correspondence of Gray and Mason, 3 vols. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. London: George Bell and Sons, 1900-12, letter no. CCXXXIV, vol. ii, 244-246
- Correspondence of Thomas Gray, 3 vols. Ed. by the late Paget Toynbee and Leonard Whibley, with corrections and additions by H. W. Starr. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971 [1st ed. 1935], letter no. 350, vol. ii, 765-766