The Connoisseur

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by Mr. Town, pseud.

The Connoisseur

Title page from The Connoisseur, volume two, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Mr. Town, pseud. (George Colman and Bonnell Thornton)
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed for R. Baldwin
Date 1757
Edition Third
Language English
Volumes 4 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 12mo (17 cm.)
Location Shelf M-1
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Bookplate of Cecil E. Bewes, front pastedown

The Connoisseur was a newspaper published in 140 issues from January 31, 1754 to September 30, 1756.[1] It was published under the pseudonym “Mr. Town,” described in the text as:

“…a fair, black, middle-sized, very short man. He wears his own hair, and a perriwig. He is about thirty years of age, and not more than four and twenty. He is a Student of the Law, and a Bachelor of Physic. He was bred at the University of Oxford; where having taken no less than three degrees, he looks down on many learned Professors, his inferiors, &c.”[2]

This passage reflects the aims of the weekly to playfully satirize English society and reveal modern intellectuals as “stripped of their borrowed ornaments, we should in many see nothing but bare shelves and empty drawers.”[3]

The Connoisseur is thought to have been written chiefly by George Colman (1732-1794) and Bonnell Thornton (1725-1768). Colman was a successful writer and manager of the Haymarket Theatre who wrote many plays and critical essays.[4] Thornton contributed to numerous literary periodicals of the day and was noted for his love of satire and a mocking sense an humor.[5]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Connoisseur. an odd vol. and given by Thomas Jefferson to his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. May appear later on Randolph's 1832 estate inventory in "'Lot of odd volumes' ($2.00 value)." We do not have enough information to conclusively identify which edition Wythe owned. George Wythe's Library[6] on LibraryThing indicates this without indicating a specific edition. The Brown Bibliography[7] lists the third edition (1757), and this was the edition purchased by the Wolf Law Library.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in full contemporary brown mottled calf, with gilt spines and black and red leather title labels. Includes the bookplate of Cecil E. Bewes with the Latin motto "major ab adversis" on the front pastedown of each volume and the signature of "Harticus Bewes E. coll. Exon Oxon." on the front pastedown of volumes one, three and four.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

Headpiece, first page of text, volume one.

See also


  1. Olive Baldwin, Thelma Wilson, “Colman, George, the elder (bap. 1732, d. 1794),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), accessed October 10, 2013. All biographical information is from this source unless otherwise noted.
  2. George Colman and Bonnell Thornton, The Connoisseur, CXL, Sept. 30, 1756 (University of Michigan Library, 2011).
  3. Nandini Bhattacharya (quoting George Colman), “Family Jewels: George Colman’s ‘Inkle and Yarico’ and Connoisseurship,” Eighteenth-Century Studies, 34, No. 2 (2001), 210.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Paul Baines, “Thornton, Bonnell (1725-1768)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), accessed October 17, 2013.
  6. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe", accessed on November 13, 2013.
  7. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:

External Links

Read the third volume of this title on Google Books.