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Broadside entitled 'Elegy on Thomas Smellie'


The first verse reads: 'GRAY weeping vaults, and ever mouldering domes, / From whose worn sides the very sculptures die ; / In whose cold, dark, and ever silent wombs, / The dear, the good, the great, the honour'd lie'. According to a note under the title, Thomas Smellie was the third son of the late William Smellie, F.R.S. & A.S.S.

It seems very likely that Thomas's father was the famous printer and antiquary, William Smellie (1740-1795). Whilst there is a wealth of information available on the life of William, little seems to have been written about his son, Thomas. Yet, to warrant this elegy, Thomas must have been a well-known and respected figure by the time of his death.

Edinburgh-born William Smellie was a founder member of the Society of Antiquaries (1780) and Keeper of the Edinburgh Museum of Natural History (1781). He is perhaps best remembered as the editor and publisher of the first edition of the 'Encyclopedia Britannica' (1799) and for his involvement in the publication of the first Statistical Account of Scotland.

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Probable period of publication: 1810-1830   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(327)
Broadside entitled 'Elegy on Thomas Smellie'
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