Charles Killigrew 1655-1724/5

From Book Owners Online

Charles KILLIGREW 1655-1724/5

Biographical Note

Born at Maestricht, son of Thomas Killigrew, dramatist and Master of the Revels and his second wife Charlotte van Hesse. He followed his father's pattern of a career in and around the stage, becoming Master of the Revels himself in 1677. He derived an income from this, through the right to license stage plays, but needed to supplement his earnings from theatre management; he was a shareholder in the theatre at Drury Lane, where he was involved in many disputes with the actors and other shareholders. He stood unsuccessfully for the parliamentary constituency of Orford in 1701.


Killigrew was noted for his literary interests and is known to have been friendly with John Dryden. He assembled an appreciable library, thought to have been ca.2000 volumes; its breadth was acknowledged by John Stevens in his New Spanish and English dictionary (1706), who thanked Killigrew for providing him "with almost all I could desire from his most curious, valuable and numerous library, wherein, besides all philological literature, and the valuable histories of other countries, there is one of the most compleat collections of all that relates to the history of England". Dryden also acknowledged the loan of "a volume of German authors" from Killigrew in his 1693 Satires of Juvenal.

His library was sold by retail sale in London, beginning 7.12.1725, as part of a joint sale with the books of Bartholomew Beale. The catalogue contains over 4000 lots and while it does not distinguish which ones came from which source, it seems likely that many of those relating to history and modern languages, among others, were Killigrew's. Examples: Folger Library STC 22634 copy 1; Blickling Hall 6.d.15. One of the Shakespeare First Folios at Meisei University Library belonged to Killigrew (and also to William Congreve).

Killigrew's inscription, from a copy of J. Strype, The life and acts of ... Edmund Grindal, 1710 (private collection)

Characteristic Markings

Killigrew generally inscribed his books "CKilligrew", "Charles Killigrew", etc, and sometimes used an ink-stamped monogram.