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Christie Collection

Date range: 15th-19th centuries

Number of items: 8,000 items.

Richard Copley Christie (1830-1901) was the second son of Lorenzo Christie (1802-1892) a Manchester mill owner resident at Edale, Derbyshire. He studied law and history at Lincoln College Oxford and was appointed the first professor of ancient and modern history at Owens College founded in 1853 (at the age of 23). He was then chair of political economy and commercial science (1854), plus jurisprudence and law (1855). He was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn 1854 and called to the bar in 1857, practising in Manchester. He resigned the chairs in history/economy in 1866 and jurisprudence in 1869 but continued to play an important role in the growth of the college, serving as governor from 1870.

Chrstie also pursued literary and bibliographical researches, becoming a member of the Library Association, Bibliographical Society, and the Roxburghe Club. He gifted not only his books to the University, but also money to build a library. He is commemorated in a stained glass window at the entrance to the Christie library, with Aldus on his right and Erasmus on the left.

Christie formed his collection 'with a view of illustrating and enabling its owner to study the Renaissance, and especially the classical Renaissance of Italy and France, … and the lives, labours and works of a certain limited number of scholars upon whose lives and labours I had at one time hoped to write something'. These include Pietro Pomponazzi (18 items), Giulio Camillo (19 items), Giordano Bruno (45 items), Ortensio Lando (73 items), Étienne Dolet (113 items, including seven unique titles), Guillaume Postel (72 items), and Kaspar Schoppe (216 items). There is also a particular focus on Greek texts published in the 15th and 16th centuries, together with a very substantial collection of Aldines.

There was one author above all others who Christie collected almost comprehensively, with over 800 editions of Horace in the collection.

Among the many fine bindings in the Christie Collection are examples of the work of Francis Bedford, Roger de Coverly, Christian Kalthoeber, Charles Lewis, Roger Payne, Robert Rivière and Joseph Zaehnsdorf in England; and of Bauzonnet, Chambolle-Duru, Derome, Duseuil, Padeloup, Simier and Trautz in France.

See also:

Further Information:

  • Recorded in Library Search.
  • Charles W. E. Leigh, Catalogue of the Christie Collection bequeathed to the Library of the University of Manchester (Manchester, 1915).
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