Search for the name, locality, period or a feature of a locality. You'll then be taken to a map showing results.

Mr Joseph Spence (also known as Sir Harry Beaumont, Sir Harry Beaumont)

Joseph Spence (1699–1768) was an esteemed English author, scholar, and literary critic known for his significant contributions to the world of literature and his influential works on mythology and aesthetics. Born in Kingsclere, Hampshire, in 1699, Spence demonstrated an early passion for learning and literature.

He received his education at Winchester College before attending Oxford University, where he excelled academically. Later, Spence became a fellow of New College, Oxford, establishing himself as a prominent figure in the intellectual circles of his time.

Spence's keen interest in classical literature and mythology shaped much of his scholarly work. His renowned publication, "Polymetis: or, An Enquiry Concerning the Agreement Between the Works of the Roman Poets and the Remains of the Ancient Artists" (1747), established his reputation as a perceptive critic. In this work, Spence explored the connections between ancient art and literature, delving into the symbolic representations found in both mediums.

Another notable contribution came in the form of his "Anecdotes, Observations, and Characters of Books and Men" (1820), posthumously published and compiled by his literary executor, Samuel Weller Singer. This compilation of Spence's notes provided valuable insights into the lives and thoughts of various influential figures of his era, offering a unique perspective on their works and personalities.

Spence's association with luminaries of his time, including Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift, significantly influenced his thinking and scholarly pursuits. His conversations and interactions with these literary giants enriched his understanding of literature and aesthetics, shaping his own critical perspectives.

Beyond his scholarly endeavors, Spence was admired for his amiable and engaging personality. His intellectual curiosity and affable nature attracted many friends and acquaintances, fostering a vibrant intellectual atmosphere around him.

The legacy of Joseph Spence endures through his influential writings, which continue to be studied and appreciated by scholars of literature, art, and classical studies. His meticulous observations, combined with a deep appreciation for classical traditions, have left an indelible mark on the fields of literary criticism and aesthetic theory.


  1. Spence, Joseph. "Polymetis: or, An Enquiry Concerning the Agreement Between the Works of the Roman Poets and the Remains of the Ancient Artists" (1747).
  2. Singer, Samuel Weller (ed.). "Anecdotes, Observations, and Characters of Books and Men" (1820).
  3. Kitchin, George. "Life, Letters, and Diaries of Sir Jonathan Swift" (1903).

Associated Places