by Joseph Spence
Joseph Spence was Professor of Poetry and Modern History at Oxford. He travelled a great deal with both the Earl of Middlesex and Henry, 9th Earl of Lincoln, mainly in Italy. Polymetis was the result of his studies there.
Spence wrote occasionally for his friend Robert Dodsley's periodical, The Museum (1746); he contributed advice (and one poem) to Dodsley's Collection of Poems (1748–58). His long gestated Polymetis was published as a lavishly illustrated folio in February 1747 and earned him at least £1450 by subscription and sale of copyright. Conceived during Spence's first visit to Italy and with much of its material collected there, Polymetis was intended to show how the works of ancient artists and of Roman poets illustrate and explain one another. It was attacked in Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Laokoon (1766) and, though new editions appeared in 1755 and 1774, and abridged versions for the use of schools were current until the 1820s, it sank fairly quickly from serious notice. However, it proved an invaluable guide to mythological images for Keats. 
Author: Joseph Spence
Title: Polymetis: Or, An Enquiry Concerning The Agreement Between The Works Of The Roman Poets, And The Remains Of The Antient Artists, Being An Attempt To Illustrate Them Mutually From One Another
Published: London: R. Dodsley, 1747.
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy
Bound in contemporary calf with gilt spine and red spine label.
- James Sambrook, ‘Spence, Joseph (1699–1768)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2010 accessed 11 June 2013