Holyhead Church and Swift's Inn by Francis Grose

Francis Grose (b.1731, d. 1791) was an English antiquary, draughtsman and lexicographer. He was born at his father's house in Broad St., Peter-le-Poer, London. His parents were Swiss immigrants, jeweller Francis Jacob Grose (d.1769) and his wife Anne (d.1773), daughter of Thomas Bennett of Greenford in Middlesex. Grose was baptised on 11th June 1731 in the parish of St. Peter-le-Poer. Grose had early on shown a keen interest in drawing, having attempted sketches of medieval buildings as far back as 1749 and having taken formal instruction at a drawing school in the mid-1750s. He was not a particularly gifted draughtsman but he mixed in the London artistic milieu and began to exhibit, first at the Society of Arts in 1767-8 and then at the Royal Academy. His interest was in the field of medieval remains, which were beginning to exercise an increasing grip on the public imagination. In 1772 he published the first part of The Antiquities of England and Wales, a work which he unashamedly aimed at the popular market. Essentially it targetted those who wished to know about antiquities but had neither the time not the means to visit them in person. It contained small panoramas of medieval ruins together with an informative text on a separate page. The text was taken from books already published, or from information supplied by other antiquaries (both sources being acknowledged). Sometimes Grose collated material himself from which he could work up an article. From 1772 on he also toured the country to visit and draw sites for inclusion in The Antiquities. The 4th and final volume came out in June 1776 and Grose almost immediately began work on a supplement.

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