Brian Fairfax 1676-1749
Brian or Bryan FAIRFAX 1676-1749
Born in Westminster, son of Brian Fairfax, courtier. BA Trinity College, Cambridge 1697, MA 1700. He held the post of commissioner of customs from 1723 until his death.
Fairfax assembled a large library in his house in Panton Street, London, along with collections of pictures, coins and curiosities. He was noted as an early enthusiast for early English printing, and owned ten Caxton imprints. His brief will has no mention of books, but left most of his property to his relative Robert Fairfax, 7th Lord Fairfax of Cameron. He decided to sell the library, and it was prepared for auction, to begin 26 April 1756; shortly before then, a private sale of the whole library was agreed with Francis Child of Osterley Park, for £2000, and only a few copies of the printed sale catalogue survive. The books were subsequently dispersed when the Osterley library was auctioned in 1885.
- Will of Brian Fairfax, The National Archives PROB 11/767/177.
- Alston, R. C., Inventory of sale catalogues ... 1676-1800, St Philip, 2010.
- De Ricci, S., English collectors of books and manuscripts, Cambridge, 1930, p.38.
- Fletcher, W. Y., English book collectors, 1902, 170-2.
- Hopper, Andrew J. "Fairfax, Brian (1633–1711), scholar and courtier." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.