Robert Harding Evans

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Robert Harding Evans (1778–1857) was an English bookseller and auctioneer.


Robert Harding Evans, engraving by Samuel Freeman after William Behnes. Robert Harding Evans Behnes.jpg
Robert Harding Evans, engraving by Samuel Freeman after William Behnes.


Evans was the son of Thomas Evans (1742–1784). After an education at Westminster School he was apprenticed to Thomas Payne of the Mews Gate, and succeeded to the business of James Edwards, bookseller in Pall Mall, London. [1]

Thomas Evans (1742–1784) was a London bookseller, one of two of the same name in the middle of the 18th century.

Westminster School school in Westminster, London, England

Westminster School is an independent day and boarding school in London, England, located within the precincts of Westminster Abbey. With origins before the 12th century, the educational tradition of Westminster probably dates back as far as AD 960, in line with the Abbey's history. Boys are admitted to the Under School at age seven and to the senior school at age thirteen; girls are admitted at age sixteen into the Sixth Form. The school has around 750 pupils; around a quarter are boarders, most of whom go home at weekends, after Saturday morning school. The school motto, Dat Deus Incrementum, is taken from the New Testament, specifically 1 Corinthians 3:6.

Thomas Payne Bookseller and publisher in 18th-century London

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In 1812 Evans began a long career as auctioneer with the sale of the Duke of Roxburghe's library. Among other famous libraries dispersed by him were those of: [1]

Duke of Roxburghe

The Duke of Roxburghe is a title in the peerage of Scotland created in 1707 along with the titles Marquess of Bowmont and Cessford, Earl of Kelso and Viscount Broxmouth. John Ker, 5th Earl of Roxburghe became the first holder of these titles. The title is derived from the royal burgh of Roxburgh in the Scottish Borders that in 1460 the Scots captured and destroyed.

Other sales were of: [1]

He also sold the White Knights library (of George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough), [2] those of James Bindley, John Dent, George Hibbert, Dudley Long North, and some portions of Richard Heber's (1836). [1]

George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough British politician

George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough FSA, styled Marquess of Blandford until 1817, was a British nobleman, politician, peer, and collector of antiquities and books.

James Bindley 18th/19th-century English official, antiquary, and book collector

James Bindley (1737–1818) was an English official and antiquary, known as a book collector.

John Dent was an English banker and politician.

Evans's own marked set of catalogues went to the British Museum, and between 1812 and 1847 the chief libraries sold in England went through his hands. He was in the habit of discoursing upon the books passing under his hammer; but his expertise as an auctioneer was not matched by ordinary business qualities, and he fell into money troubles. When re-established as a bookseller in Bond Street, in partnership with his two sons, he was again unsuccessful. [1]

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Evans died in Edward Street, Hampstead Road, London, on 25 April 1857, in his eightieth year. His widow, Susanna, died in Stamford Road, Fulham, on 31 January 1861, aged 80. [1]


Some works bear Evans's imprint as publisher. The following were written or edited by him: [1]

Two political works are now attributed to Robert Harding Evans (1784–1821), who edited parliamentary reports: [3]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Wikisource-logo.svg "Evans, Robert Harding". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. Lee, Stephen M. "Spencer, George". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26123.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. McConnell, Anita. "Evans, Robert Harding". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8977.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Evans, Robert Harding". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.