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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, [8 September 1761]

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Dear Doctor

I am just come to Town, where I shall stay six weeks or more, & (if you will send your dimensions) will look out for papers at the shops. I own I never yet saw any Gothic papers to my fancy. there is one fault, that is in the nature of the thing, & can not be avoided. the great beauty of all Gothick designs is the variety of perspectives they occasion. this a Painter may represent on the walls of a room in some measure; but not a Designer of Papers, where, what is represented on one breadth, must be exactly repeated on another, both in the light & shade, and in the dimensions. this we can not help; but they do not even do what they might: they neglect Hollar, to copy Mr. Halfpenny's architecture, so that all they do is more like a goosepie than a cathedral. you seem to suppose, that they do Gothic papers in colours, but I never saw any but such as were to look like Stucco: nor indeed do I conceive that they could have any effect or meaning. lastly, I never saw any thing of gilding, such as you mention, on paper, but we shall see. only pray leave as little to my judgement as possible.

I thank'd Dr Ashton before you told me to do so. he writes me word, that (except the first Sunday of a month) he believes, he shall be at Eton till the middle of November; & (as he now knows the person in question is your nephew) adds, I remember Dr Wharton with great pleasure, & beg you will signify as much to him, when you write.

The King is just married, it is the hottest night in the year.

Adieu, it is late, I am ever
T G:
Letter ID: letters.0393 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 44
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 44[?]


Date of composition: [8 September 1761]
Date (on letter): Tuesday
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 2 pages, 195 mm x 158 mm


Language: English
Incipit: I am just come to Town, where I shall stay six weeks or more,...
Mentioned: Ashton, Thomas, 1715-1775

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 146-147, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter C, vol. ii, 392-393
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CVIII, vol. iii, 288-289
  • 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. CCXXVII, vol. ii, 224-226
  • Essays and Criticisms by Thomas Gray. Ed. with Introduction and Notes by Clark Sutherland Northup. Boston and London: D. C. Heath & Co., 1911, letter excerpt, 247-248
  • 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. 342, vol. ii, 749-750