Walter Bowman 1699-1782

From Book Owners Online

Walter BOWMAN 1699-1782

Biographical Note

Bowman was born in 1699 to Walter Bowman of Logie. As a young man, he worked as a tutor and attended Padua University from 1725 to 1727. He travelled abroad for many years before returning to England in 1743, and settling in East Molesey, Surrey.

An avid collector, Bowman was elected as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and as a member to the Royal Society and the Society of Dilettanti. Three papers he wrote for the Society of Antiquaries were published in the first volume of Archaeologia.

Bowman never married and passed away in Egham, Surrey, in 1782. He left a will with explicit instructions for the safeguarding of his library at Logie House in Fife for future generations.


In accordance with his will, Bowman's library remained intact within the family estate until just after the Second World War. His will set out detailed arrangements for the transportion of the books from England to Scotland, the organisation of the library and how they should be cared for, as well as who could read the books and for what purposes (see Feather (1982) for a full account). The library was bequeathed to his brother James, a merchant in Portugal, and then to his nephew, James Melville.

It is assumed that the books were sold in Edinburgh following WWII, but a sale catalogue has not been located. Books from his library can be found in several libraries throughout the UK:


St. Johns Library, Cambridge University M.13.25; F.12.1

Manchester University Library WCB IC CA4 21

King's College London Libraries QB41 K4So5

Characteristic Markings

His autograph can be found on the flyleaves of several of his books.

Feather (1982) also notes that great care was taken with the binding of his books. Bowman's accounts show that he had many of his volumes bound by Eton bookbinders Thomas Payne (c. 1718 – 1799) and Roger Payne (1739-1797).