Arthur Charlett 1655-1722

From Book Owners Online

Arthur CHARLETT 1655-1722

Charlett's bookplate (British Museum Franks Collection 5614)

Biographical Note

Born at Shipton, Gloucestershire, son of Arthur Charlett, rector of Collingbourne Ducis, Wiltshire. BA Trinity College, Oxford 1673, MA 1676, fellow 1680, BD 1684, DD 1692, the year in which he became master of University College, Oxford. He became much involved in university affairs, and politics, and had a reputation as a gossip and a place-seeker; he was also, however, supportive of many contemporary scholars such as Humphrey Wanley and George Hickes. He became vicar of Hambleden, Buckinghamshire in 1707 and was a royal chaplain 1697-1717. He was an active delegate of the University Press, but published little himself.


Charlett assembled an extensive library and he is noted as the commissioner of the first bookpile bookplate to have been made in Britain (Franks 5614); it was designed by Samuel Pepys, who was approached with the request by Charlett in 1698. He died intestate and his library was sold to an Oxford bookseller for 500 guineas, before being auctioned in London, beginning 24 August 1723. No catalogue survives, but the sale was advertised in the Evening Post as "a collection of very valuable books in most languages and faculties, consisting of near 4000 volumes". His collection of coins and medals was sold separately, and his papers went to his nephew Thomas Rawlins (these were later given to the Bodleian Library).


  • Alston, R. C., Inventory of sale catalogues ... 1676-1800, St Philip, 2010.
  • Darwall-Smith, R. H. "Charlett, Arthur (1655–1722), college head." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903-4.
  • Lee, B. N., Bookpile bookplates, Birmingham, 1992.