Sykes, Mark Masterman (DNB00)

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SYKES, Sir MARK MASTERMAN (1771–1823), book-collector, born on 20 Aug. 1771, was eldest son of Sir Christopher Sykes (1749–1801), second baronet, of Sledmere, Yorkshire, by his wife Elizabeth (d. 1803), daughter of William Tatton of Withenshaw, Cheshire. Mark matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford, on 10 May 1788. In 1795 he served the office of high sheriff of the county of York, and in September 1801 succeeded by the death of his father to the baronetcy and estates. On 14 May 1807 he was returned member of parliament for the city of York, and retained his seat till 1820, when he retired on account of ill-health. Sir Mark was famous as a bibliophile, and possessed one of the finest private libraries in England. It was especially rich in first editions of the classics, specimens of fifteenth-century printing, and in volumes of Elizabethan poetry. There were also some valuable manuscripts, including a copy of Dugdale's ‘Heraldic Visitation of York, 1665–1666.’ His chief treasure, however, was a copy of the first edition of Livy, by Sweynheim and Pannartz, published at Rome in 1469. It is the only copy on vellum extant, and some time after Sir Mark's death passed into the hands of Thomas Grenville (1755–1846) [q. v.], with the rest of whose library it was bequeathed to the British Museum. A catalogue of Sykes's library was prepared by Henry John Todd [q. v.] Sykes was a member of the Roxburghe Club, to which he presented a reprint of some of Lydgate's poems in 1818. He had also a fine collection of pictures, bronzes, coins, medals, and prints. The last included a complete set of Francesco Bartolozzi's engravings, comprising his proofs and etchings, which cost Sykes nearly 5,000l. He died without issue at Weymouth on 16 Feb. 1823, and was succeeded by his brother, Sir Tatton Sykes [q. v.] All his collections were dispersed by sale in 1824. His library fetched nearly 10,000l., and his pictures nearly 6,000l.

Sykes was twice married: first, on 11 Nov. 1795, to Henrietta, daughter and heiress of Henry Masterman of Settrington, Yorkshire, on which occasion he took the additional name of Masterman; she died in July 1813. On 2 Aug. 1814 he married, secondly, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of William Tatton Egerton and sister of Wilbraham Tatton Egerton of Tatton Park; she survived him, dying in October 1846.

[Gent. Mag. 1823, i. 375, 482, ii. 352, 451; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Roberts's Memorials of Christie, i. 110; Burke's Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage.]

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