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CARTER, John (1748-1817)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0100 KCLCA Leathes
Held at: King's College London College Archives
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Full title: CARTER, John (1748-1817)
Date(s): 1700-1818
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 boxes (0.02 cubic metres)
Name of creator(s): Carter | John | 1748-1817 | architect


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, 1748; attended school in Battersea and Kennington until 1760; worked as an artist for his father, Benjamin, a sculptor, until his death, [1763]; apprenticed to Joseph Dixon, surveyor, from around 1764; private work as draughtsman including for Henry Holland of Piccadilly, 1768; drawings for Builder's magazine, 1774-1786; first employed by Society of Antiquaries to draw subjects including St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster, the abbeys at Bath and St Alban's and cathedrals at Exeter, Durham and Gloucester, 1780; begins to draw for the antiquarian, Richard Gough, who incorporated illustrations by Carter in his Sepulchral monuments in Great Britain, 2 vols (London, 1786, 1796); introduced to patrons including John Soane and Horace Walpole, 1781; published Specimens of the ancient sculpture and painting now remaining in this kingdom, 2 vols (London, 1780, 1787); exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1786; begins publication of Views of ancient buildings in England, 6 vols (London, 1786-1793); Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, 1795; begins publishing The ancient architecture of England, 2 vols (London, 1795, 1807); periodically composed music and operas including The white rose and The cell of St Oswald; published important series of articles warning against inappropriate restoration and the demolition of ancient monuments under the title 'Pursuits of architectural innovation', in Gentleman's magazine, 1798-1817; died, 1817. Publications: Views of ancient buildings in England, 6 vols (London, 1786-1793); Specimens of the ancient sculpture and painting now remaining in this kingdom, 2 vols (London, 1780, 1787); The ancient architecture of England, 2 vols (London, 1795, 1807). Contributions to Builder's magazine, 1774-1786, and Gentleman's magazine, 1798-1817.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection comprises manuscript notebooks on architecture and antiquarianism, correspondence and printed obituaries of Carter, 1700-1818, notably including a folder of loose manuscript notes relating to merchant ships on the Baltic route, papers on Latin verbs and translation, bill of expenses and proposals for improvements to the catalogue of the Harleian Collection, now housed in the British Library, 1700-1818; manuscript notes compiled during Carter's childhood on the importance of virtue, and commonplaces derived from the writings of King Charles I and King Charles II of England, among others, [1762]; folio day book by Carter describing chapel ornamentation, the role of the antiquarian and the architectural content of scenes from plays by William Shakespeare, including Richard III, 1771; autobiographical notebooks by Carter describing his architectural tours, with sketches and drawings, 1774-1778; sketch book with observations of landmarks such as Durham Cathedral, 1791-1803; correspondence with Leathes on Carter's health problems, his estate and collection of drawings and papers, [1799-1818]; printed obituaries and memorials of Carter published in Gentleman's magazine, 1817-1818; Sotheby's sale catalogue of the Carter collection, [1817-1818].

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Broadly chronological

Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services.

Finding aids:

Collection level description on-line and due to be published in hard copy. A detailed catalogue of the Leathes manuscripts, including the Carter papers, is available in hard copy in the College Archives reading room, King's College London.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Papers acquired in 1817 by Philip Hammersley Leathes, antiquary and a shareholder in King's College London, who was an executor of Carter's estate. The Leathes collection was donated to the College in 1837.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Leathes collection in 1837.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Some correspondence in British Library, Manuscript Collections (Ref: Add MSS 29925-44, 31113, 31153); Lincoln Cathedral Library: accounts by Carter and Richard Gough of archaeological discoveries at Lincoln (Ref: MS 280); Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts: miscellaneous papers (Ref: MSS Gough Linc 15; Douce 279). Some papers also at the Society of Antiquaries, London.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Dictionary of national biography; obituaries and memorials published in Gentleman's magazine, 1817-1818. Entry compiled by Geoff Browell.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
December 2000

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