The collection is an artificial one, of documents and drawings illustrating the life and works of the family commonly known as the Taylors of Ongar, although Isaac Taylor (1759-1829) and his family lived at Lavenham from 1786 to 1796.
The collection comprises early family correspondence, some published works, a large quantity of engravings, preliminary sketches and drawings, portraits and photographs and notes and correspondence of many members of the family concerning their history, life and works.
The collaboration of members of the family in their works have necessarily produced complications in arranging the material. Some cross references have been given but, in order to find all the items relating to one member of the family, it will be necessary to look in the general section, the correspondence, the section relating primarily to the subject and among items concerned with any member of the family with whom the subject was known to have collaborated. In particiular it should be remembered that Charles Taylor (1756-1823) published many engravings made by his brother Isaac (1759-1829); Isaac Taylor (1759-1829) worked with his son Isaac (1787-1865) on many book illustrations, for which the father made engravings following the designs of his son; Isaac Taylor (1787-1865) illustrated most of the works of his sisters Ann and Jane; Jane collaborated with her mother on at least one volume of letters; and Isaac Taylor (1787-1865) shared his genius for invention with his brother Jefferys.
No items from this collection may be photocopied or photographed without the prior permission, in writing, of: Mr D. Taylor, Archway Lodge, Mystole, CANTERBURY, Kent, CT4 7DB
Immediate source of acquisition:
acc. nos. 2914, 7326
The collection was made principally by Henry Taylor (1837-1916), a son of Isaac Taylor (1787-1865) of Stanford Rivers, Essex. Henry was an architect and author, living at Braeside, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, at Birklands, Southport, Cheshire and latterly at Rusthall in Kent. He collected most of the items over a period of 20 to 30 years, in connection with his preparation of at least three works: his Pedigree of the Taylors of Ongar [see HD 588/1/1] published in 1895; a history of the Taylors [see HD 588/1/141-143], and a biography of his father Isaac Taylor to be entitled The Historian of Enthusiasm [for typescript copies of parts I and II see HD 588/6/1]. From some of Henry Taylor's correspondence it is clear that he was in the habit of employing a secretary or amanuensis. In his later years his daughter Ursula Gertrude Taylor acted in this capacity, but at least one other and possibly more hands are in evidence, one of which may be that of his wife Ursula Mellor Taylor. Throughout the list notes made by Henry Taylor or by his amanuensis at his direction are all noted as by H.T. After his death in 1916 the collection seems to have passed into the care of Ursula Gertrude Taylor, who added correspondence with and items received from Doris Mary Armitage, author of The Taylors of Ongar (Cambridge, 1939).
Select bibliography of books available in the Record Office searchroom at Bury St Edmunds
Books by members of the Taylor family:
Isaac Taylor (1759-1829), Scenes in America (1821)
Jane Taylor, Display: a tale (1820)
Jane Taylor, The Contributions of QQ (1840)
Canon Isaac Taylor, Words and Places (1911)
Books about the Taylors and their works:
Doris Mary Armitage, The Taylors of Ongar (1939)
G. Edward Harris, Contributions towards a bibliography of the Taylors of Ongar and Stanford Rivers (1965)
Christina Duff Stewart, The Taylors of Ongar: An Analytical Bio-Bibliography, 2 vols. (1975)
Administrative / biographical background:
The best introductions to the various members of the family are probably the articles concerning most of them in the Dictionary of National Biography, where their principal works and the titles of published biographies are given.
A detailed pedigree of the Taylor family is included in the collection (HD 588/1/1). As for friends of the family, some details of the Conders will be found in the life of Josiah Conder, given in the Dictionary of National Biography. A few items relating to the Forbes and their descendants are to be found in the collection and a tentative reconstruction of their pedigree is given.