James Granger - Encyclopedia




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JAMES GRANGER (1723-1776), English clergyman and printcollector, was born in Dorset in 1723. He went to Oxford, and then entered holy orders, becoming vicar of Shiplake; but apart from his hobby of portrait-collecting, which resulted in the principal work associated with his name, and the publication of some sermons, his life was uneventful. Yet a new word was, added to the language - "to grangerize" - on account of him. In 1769 he published in two quarto volumes a Biographical History of England " consisting of characters dispersed in different classes, and adapted to a methodical catalogue of engraved British heads"; this was "intended as an essay towards reducing our biography to a system, and a help to the knowledge of portraits." The work was supplemented in later editions by Granger, and still further editions were brought out by the Rev. Mark Noble, with additions from Granger's materials. Blank leaves were left for the filling in of engraved portraits for extra illustration of the text, and it became a favourite pursuit to discover such illustrations and insert them in a Granger, so that. "grangerizing" became a term for such an extra-illustration of any work, especially with cuts taken from other books. The immediate result of the appearance of Granger's own work was the rise in value of books containing portraits, which were cut out and inserted in collector's copies.

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