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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 13 November 1761

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Dear Doctor

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[...]

Letter ID: letters.0401 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: 13 November 1761
Date (on letter): Nov: 13. 1761
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): London

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.; 2 pages, 200 mm x 166 mm; part of the letter (1 fol.) is missing


Language: English
Incipit: I went as soon as I received your last letter, to chuse papers for you...

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, f. 152, 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 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