Wodhull, Michael

Biography: Classical scholar, book collector and poet. Born Thenford, Northamptonshire, 1740. Inherited extensive estates in Northamptonshire on his father's death, placed under guardianship of Joseph Clarke of Welton. Educated at William Cleaver's school at Twyford, then Winchester School, matriculated Brasenose Coll., Oxford 1758, but did not take a degree. Began collecting books in the late 1750s. Published Ode to Criticism 1761, and printed three other poetic pamphlets in the 1760s. Constructed a mansion at Thenford, completed 1765, also occupied a town house at Berkeley Sq., London. Printed his Poems 1772 as presents. First translator into English of all the extant writings of Euripides, published 1782. Sheriff of Northamptonshire 1783. Journeyed to France 1803 to visit the great libraries of Paris, while there suffered a paralytic stroke. Detained in Paris but released June 1803 due to his age. Revised and enlarged edition of his Poems published 1804. Particularly well informed on French printing in the 16th century. Died in the library at Thenford in 1816. Legal battle after his death over his estate, which had been left to his wife's sister by Wodhull's will. An individual claimed to be his heir-at-law and alleged that he had returned from France an imbecile and his will was a forgery. Sold a considerable part of his library in his lifetime, with two major sales in March 1801 and March-April 1803. The rest of the library, comprising 4000 volumes, remained at Thenford for 80 years. Disposed of in January 1886 by Sotheby's in 2804 lots, followed by a sale of charters, deeds and autograph material in November 1886. His books are highly prized - many on large paper and vellum, finely bound in russia and morocco, usually bearing his armorial stamp.

Biography Date: 1740-1816

Biography References: Prov. Reg. Notes (See Ricci, English Collectors, p81-83); LOC; CERL; DNB;

Book List

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