Charles Davis (1693 - 1755)
RA Collection: People and Organisations
Bookseller, the fifth son of James Davis, a chandler in Hatton Garden, London, and his wife, Mary. Baptized at St Andrew’s, Holborn, London, on 5 February 1693. He was bound as an apprentice to the London bookseller Nathaniel Nowell on 8 November 1708 but was not freed as a member of the Stationers’ Company until 3 October 1727, (on which day he was elected to the livery of the company). However, Davis was active as a bookseller from as early as 1723 when, based in Covent Garden, London, he published his earliest surviving book catalogue on 3 December. In 1726 he was recorded in Hatton Garden and by 1728, when he took his first apprentice, he had a shop in Paternoster Row. He was also based in Holborn, opposite Gray’s Inn and later against Gray’s Inn Gate, and was a parishioner of St Andrew’s, Holborn, at his death.
At least until 1730 Davis may have had some working relationship with the printer Henry Woodfall. Ten catalogues pertaining to Davis’s business have survived, demonstrating that he was one of the earliest booksellers to retail libraries by priced catalogues. He was one of the earliest booksellers who issued priced catalogues of second-hand books. He also sold libraries by auction, among others that of Dr. John Hancocke and Thomas Rawlinson.
He was unmarried, and on 17 September his estate was granted to his two bookselling nephews, Lockyer Davis and Charles Reymers (respectively sons of his eldest brother James and younger sister Elizabeth), both of whom had served apprenticeships with Davis. Davis’s stock was sold off at auction on 21 April 1757; a unique copy of the sale catalogue, annotated with purchasers and prices in an unidentified hand, survives in the British Library. [Source: DNB]
Died: 31 August 1755
Dictionarium polygraphicum : or, the whole body of arts regularly digested. containing, I. The arts of Designing, Drawing, Painting, Washing Prints, Limning, Japanning, Gilding in all their various kinds. Also Perspective, the Laws of Shadows, Dialling, &c. II. Carving, Cutting in Wood, Stone; Moulding and Casting Figures in Plaister, Wax, Metal; also Engraving, and Etching, and Mezzotinto. III. A brief historical Account of the most considerable Painters, Sculptors, Statuaries, and Engravers, with those Cyphers or Marks by which their Works are known. IV. An Explanation of the Emblematical and Hieroglyphical Representations of the Heathen Deities, Powers, Human Passions, Virtues, Vices, &c. of great Use in History Painting. V. The Production, Nature, Refining, Compounding, Transmutation and Tinging all sorts of Metals and Minerals of various Colours. VI. The Arts of Making, Working, Painting or Staining all sorts of Glass and Marble; also Enamels, the imitation of all sorts of Precious Stones, Pearls, &c. according to the Practice both of the Antients and Moderns. Vii. Dying all sorts of Materials, Linen, Woollen, Silk, Leather, Wood, Ivory, Horns, Bones; also Bleaching and Whitening Linen, Hair, &c. Viii. The Art of Tapestry-Weaving, as now performed in England, Flanders and France, either of the high or low Warp; also many other curious Manufactures. IX. A Description of Colours, Natural and Artificial, as to their Productions, Natures or Qualities, various Preparations, Compositions and Uses. X. The method of making all kinds of Inks, both Natural and Sympathetical; and also many other Cariosities not here to be specified, whereby this is rendred a more Compleat Work than has hitherto appear'd in any language. Adorned with proper sculptures, curiously engraven on more than fifty copper plates. - London: 1735
Human Physiognomy Explain'd: In The Crounian Lectures On Muscular Motion. For the Year MDCCXLVI. Read before the Royal Society: By James Parsons, M.D. and F.R.S. Being a Supplement to the Philosophical Transactions for that Year. - London:: 
The Crounian Lectures On Muscular Motion For the Years MDCCXLIV and MDCCXLV. Read before the Royal Society: By James Parsons, M. D. and Fellow of the Royal Society. Being a Supplement to the Philosophical Transactions for those Years. - London:: 1745.
The Architecture Of A. Palladio; In Four Books. Containing A short Treatise of the Five Orders, and the most necessary Observations concerning all sorts of Building: As Also The different Construction of Private and Publick Houses, High-Ways, Bridges, Market-Places, Xystes, and Temples, with their Plans, Sections, and Uprights. Revis'd, Design'd, and Publish'd by Giacomo Leoni, a Venetian, Architect to His Most Serene Highness, the Late Elector Palatine. Translated from the Italian Original. The Third Edition, Corrected. With Notes and Remarks of Inigo Jones: Now first taken from his Original Manuscript in Worcester College Library, Oxford. And Also, An Appendix, containing the Antiquities of Rome. Written by A. Palladio. And a Discourse of the Fires of the Ancients. Never before Translated. In Two Volumes. - London::