Thomas Samwell 1687-1757

From Book Owners Online

Sir Thomas SAMWELL 2nd bt. 1687-1757

Biographical Note

Son of Sir Thomas Samwell 1st bt of Upton, Northamptonshire and Mary Godschalk; succeeded as 2nd bt in 1694. Matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1703. MP for Coventry 1715-22.

Samwell’s cultural and artistic life is probably of more interest than his political and landowning one: from 1707 he undertook a lengthy and extensive Grand Tour of five countries, was the dedicatee of Robert Valentine/Follintine’s Sonate de flauto ca.1708, and engaged the great stuccoist Guiseppe Artari at Upton House. The latter has been described as a ‘locus classicus’ for the painter Philippe Mercier, with Samwell featuring in his famous ‘bacchanialian’ group scene ca.1733 (now in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, Canada). He was President in 1746 of the Northampton Philosophic Society. He married 1. Millicent Fuller; 2. Mary Ives (née Clark).


The nature and the extent of his library have not been established. (The Upton house and estates passed out of the Samwell family's hands in 1860.)

Characteristic Markings

He had an engraved armorial bookplate: Franks 26036.


  • Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903-4.
  • History of Parliament.
  • Kerslake, J. ‘Mercier at Upton’. The Burlington Magazine, 118 (1976), 770-3.
  • Page, C. The guitar in Stuart England. Cambridge, 2017, pp. 200-1.
  • Shearing, D. K. ‘Education in the Peterborough diocese in the century following the “glorious revolution”’. PhD dissertation. Institute of Education, University of London, 1990, p. 200.