Henry Burgum 1739-1789

From Book Owners Online

Henry BURGUM 1739-1789

Biographical Note

Born at Littledean, Gloucestershire, from a humble background. He was apprenticed to Allen Bright, a Bristol pewterer in 1752, and by 1764 he was advertising in Bristol as a pewterer in his own right. He entered into partnership with George Catcott and had premises on a corner of Redcliff Street. By 1767 he was an official of the Bristol Corporation of the Poor, and had his portrait painted by the Bristol artist John Simmons. He was drawn into the orbit of the local literary forger Thomas Chatterton, who fooled him into thinking that he had discovered a distinguished pedigree for his family; after Chatterton's death, he was further ridiculed by one of his associates, James Thistlethwaite and his fortunes declined. In 1783 he was declared bankrupt, and spent time in the Fleet Prison in London before being returned to Bristol a few years before his death.


Burgum used an engraved bookplate (Franks 4410); the extent of his library is not known, but he is known to have been a keen supporter of musical activities and his portrait shows him holding a large handsomely bound volume of music. Some of his music volumes have been traced to the Theodore M. Finney Collection in the Harry Ransom Center at Austin, Texas.