Books in the possession of C.F.A. Voysey at the time of his death

In 1917 Voysey moved to a small flat in St James's Street in London, and he lived there until ill health took him to the Park House nursing home in Winchester in 1940 (where he died in February 1941). Voysey's books were inherited by his son Charles Cowles-Voysey and many years later they were included amongst family gifts made to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), where they have remained as a group in the library at 66 Portland Place, London (although not separately catalogued).

The collection numbers just forty-five volumes and, whilst some books may not have found their way to RIBA, it seems reasonable to assume that – with limited space available in the nursing home – they probably represent the bulk of what remained. In their various ways, they also probably reflect what mattered most to Voysey in his final years. A strong indication of this are the three volumes about his family forebears the Wesleys, one of which shows Voysey and his siblings as recent additions to the Wesley pedigree. Another is inscribed to him by his father, the Reverend Charles Voysey, and one bears the signature of Voysey's wife Mary, from whom he had been separated for many years. Several more are inscribed to Voysey, including one from his brother Ellison to "Charley", an unfamiliar form of his name, so used are we to reading the rather formal "CFA".

Most of the books carry Voysey's personal bookplate, designed in the 1890s, whilst three early volumes bear a previous Voysey coat of arms bookplate.


  1. John Wesley, by Arnold Lunn (1929)
    No bookplate
    Inscription: "C.F. Annesley Voysey April 9, 1929"
  2. John Wesley's journal, abridged by Percy Livingston Parker with an introduction by the Revd H.P. Hughes and an appreciation by Augustine Birrell (1902)
    Bookplate, dated 1903
    No inscription
  3. Memorials of the Wesley family : including biographical ... studies of all the members of the family ... together with a genealogical table of the Wesleys, etc, by George John Stevenson (1876?)
    Bookplate, undated
    Inscription: "C.F.A. Voysey April 9, 1891". Includes loose pedigree of the Wesley family, 938-1875 (including Voysey) and loose photographic card
  4. Lay thoughts of a Dean, by William Ralph Inge (1926)
    No bookplate
    Inscription: "C.F. Annesley Voysey September 1, 1934"
  5. The Heroes of Asgard, by the author of "Mia and Charlie" and her sister [i.e. by Annie Keary] (no date: 1857?)
    No bookplate
    Inscription: "Charles F.A. Voysey". The title page is missing
  6. Great English painters : selected biographies from Allan Cunningham's "Lives of eminent British painters", arranged and edited with an introduction by William Sharp (1886)
    Voysey coat of arms bookplate
    Inscription: "C.F.A. Voysey Decr 2, 1886"
  7. Evolution and ethics and other essays, by Thomas H. Huxley (1894)
    Voysey coat of arms bookplate
    Inscription: "C.F.A. Voysey Octbr 1894"
  8. In tune with the infinite, or fullness of peace, power and plenty, by Ralph Waldo Trine (1915)
    No bookplate
    Inscription: "C.F.A. Voysey"
  9. Individuality, by CFA Voysey (1915)
    No bookplate
    Inscription: "C. Cowles-Voysey from his loving father. April 1915". Presumably not in CFA Voysey's possession at the time of his death but added by the family later
  10. The Ingoldsby legends, by Thomas Ingoldsby (1889)
    Bookplate, undated
    Inscription: "For Charley & Mary with best love from Ellison [Voysey] Dec 1890".
  11. The Vision : hell, purgatory and paradise, of Dante Alighieri, translated by Revd Henry Francis Cary (1868)
    No bookplate
    Inscription: "Charles Annesley Voysey from SCI Jan 1st 1878". Identity of "SCI" unknown
  12. A week on the Concord and Merrimac rivers, etc, by Henry David Thoreau, with a prefatory note by Will H. Dircks (1889?)
    Bookplate, dated March 1, 1905
    Inscription: "From one friend to another friend Feb 18 05". Inscribed by Dircks?
  13. Oxford, by H.J.L.J. Massé (1906)
    Bookplate, dated October 1906
    Inscription: "To C.F.A. Voysey from the Author in remembrance of a joint visit H.J.L.J. Massé".
  14. Two essays on old age & friendship, by Marcus Tullius Cicero, translated by E.S. Shuckburgh (1900)
    Bookplate, undated
    Inscription: "To my beloved son Charles Francis Annesley Voysey July 1901". Inscribed by Rev. Charles Voysey
  15. An Introduction to the study of colour, by John Littlejohns (1928?)
    Bookplate, undated
    Inscription: "To C.F.A. Voysey with respectful trepidation – J Littlejohns" (see photograph)

Voysey inscription

  1. Ideas : "Buch le Grand" of the Reisebilder of Heinrich Heine, 1826 translated by I.B. (1884)
    Bookplate, undated. Also has Voysey coat of arms bookplate
    Inscribed: "Mary M. Voysey"
  2. Notes on noses, by Eden Warwick [pseudonym, i.e. George Jabet] (1893)
    Bookplate, dated August 1925
    There are two inscriptions but may be old and unconnected with Voysey
  3. Art and beauty of the Earth, by William Morris (1898)
    Bookplate, dated April 6, 1899
    No inscription
    (Dr Wendy Hitchmough notes (CFA Voysey (Phaidon, 1995), pp.18 & 224 (chapter 2, note 19)) that there was one other Morris item amongst those passed to Cowles-Voysey, also bearing Voysey's bookplate and dated April 6, 1899. This was An Address delivered by William Morris at the distribution of prizes to students of the Birmingham Municipal School of Art on February 21, 1894 (Chiswick Press, Longman, 1898). This volume is not at the RIBA.)
  4. English men of letters : Laurence Sterne, edited by John Morley (1882)
    Bookplate, undated
    No inscription
  5. English men of letters : Thomas Moore, by Stephen Gwynn (1905)
    Bookplate, dated February 1905
    Noinscription
  6. Facts and comments, by Herbert Spencer (1902)
    Bookplate, dated December 1903
    No inscription
  7. The Theory of moral sentiments, by Adam Smith (1892)
    Bookplate, dated March 1906
    No inscription
  8. Critical & miscellaneous essays, vol. 1, by Thomas Carlyle (1899)
    Bookplate, dated Sept 29, 1902
    No inscription
  9. Sir Roger de Coverly and other essays from 'the Spectator' [a selection from the essays of Addison and Steele] edited by Arthur Symons, with illustrations by H.M. Brock. (1905?)
    Bookplate, dated 1905
    No inscription
  10. The Pilgrim's progress, by John Bunyan (1905)
    Bookplate, dated March 30, 1905
    No inscription
  11. The Mind of the artist : thoughts and sayings of painters and sculptors on their art, collected and arranged by Mrs Laurence Binyon (1909)
    Bookplate, undated
    No inscription
  12. The Poet at the breakfast table, by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1902)
    Bookplate, dated May 28, 1903
    No inscription
  13. The Professor at the breakfast table, by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1902)
    Bookplate, dated May 28, 1903
    No inscription
  14. Name this flower, by Gaston Bonner (1917)
    Bookplate, dated July 6, 1925
    No inscription. Has a few pressed leaves between pages
  15. The Temple of art, by Ernest Newlands Smith (1904)
    Bookplate, dated 1904
    No inscription
  16. The Complete works of John Keats, vol. I : letters, edited by H. Buxton Forman (1900)
    Bookplate, dated October 1906
    No inscription
  17. The Complete works of John Keats, vol. II : letters, edited by H. Buxton Forman (1901)
    Bookplate, undated
    No inscription
  18. Bacon's history of the reign of King Henry VII, by Joseph Rawson Lumby (1902)
    Bookplate, dated January 1912
    No inscription
  19. The Quest of the ideal, by Grace Rhys (1913)
    Bookplate, datedMay 1913
    No inscription
  20. Essays of Montaigne, selected and edited by Percival Chubb, Florio's translation (1886?)
    Bookplate, dated August 1909
    No inscription
  21. The Republic of Plato, translated with an analysis and notes by John Llewelyn Davis and David James Vaughan (1901)
    Bookplate, dated May 28, 1903
    No inscription
  22. The Nicomachean ethics of Aristotle, with a preface and notes by Revd D.P. Chase, an introduction by G.H. Lewes, and edited by J.M. Mitchell (1906?)
    Bookplate, dated August 1910
    No inscription
  23. The Trial & death of Socrates, translated by F.J. Church (1901)
    Bookplate, dated May 28, 1903
    No inscription
  24. William Blake, by G.K. Chesterton (1910?)
    Bookplate, dated January 1911
    No inscription
  25. Wayside and woodland trees, by Edward Step (1905)
    Bookplate, undated
    No inscription
  26. The Light of Asia, by Sir Edwin Arnold (no date)
    Bookplate, dated March 1909
    No inscription
  27. Familiar studies of men and books, by Robert Louis Stevenson (1905)
    Bookplate, dated March 1905
    No inscription
  28. Eighteenth century studies, by Austin Dobson (1914?)
    Bookplate, date February 1916
    No inscription
  29. The Journal of a tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, by James Boswell (1901)
    Bookplate, undated
    No inscription
  30. A Companion dictionary of the English language, by James Henry Murray (1892?)
    Bookplate, dated January 1900
    No inscription. "Francis" and "Annesley" on bookplate crossed through, possibly by Cowles-Voysey

Page last amended 17th February 2017