Philip Thicknesse Letters: Finding Aid mssTH

Brooke M. Black
The Huntington Library
April 2022
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: Philip Thicknesse letters
Creator: Thicknesse, Philip, 1719-1792
Identifier/Call Number: mssTH
Physical Description: 6 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
Date (inclusive): approximately 1770-approximately 1785
Abstract: Letters belonging to 18th century British soldier and author Philip Thicknesse.
Language of Material: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Philip Thicknesse letters, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Ifan Kyrle Fletcher, 1949.

Biographical / Historical

Philip Thicknesse (1719-1792) was a British soldier and author. He traveled to America with James Oglethorpe in 1733, served in Jamaica and the Mediterranean, and purchased the lieutenant-governship of Landguard, Fort Suffolk, in 1753. Thicknesse was a patron of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) and the author of numerous pamphlets, guides, letters, and other tracts. He spent much time traveling and lived in Monmouthshire and Bath. He married three times: Maria Lanove (whose large family fortune he unsuccessfully claimed in a notorious lawsuit after her death in 1749); Elizabeth Touchet, eldest daughter of the Earl of Castlehaven; and Ann Ford, the author and musician.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists almost entirely of letters from Philip Thicknesse to his friend John Cooke of Monmouthshire. Subject matter includes Thicknesse's family life and relations with his wives and children; business and estate affairs, including his lawsuits, management of his Monmouthshire farm at Quoitca, and his houses at Bath; life and society in Bath; travel on the Continent, particularly in France and Spain from 1775 to 1777, and in Belgium in 1782. There are a few references to his own writings and to Thomas Gainsborough.

Processing Information

Processed by Huntington Library staff. In 2022, Brooke M. Black created a finding aid.


Arranged chronologically.


Individual call numbers included in the collection: mssTH 1-218.


Some of the letters in this collection have been published in: Gosse, Philip. Dr. Viper, the querulous life of Philip Thicknesse (London : Cassell, 1952).

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Farms -- Wales -- Monmouthshire
Bath (England) -- Social life and customs -- 18th century
Belgium -- Description and travel
France -- Description and travel
Monmouthshire (Wales) -- Description and travel
Monmouthshire (Wales) -- Social life and customs -- 18th century
Spain -- Description and travel
Letters (correspondence) -- Europe -- 18th century
Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 18th century
Cooke, John, active 1770-1784
Gainsborough, Thomas, 1727-1788
Lanove, Maria
Thicknesse, Ann, 1737-1824
Touchet, Elizabeth

Box 1


Box 2


Box 3


Box 4