Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bolland, William

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BOLLAND, Sir WILLIAM (1772–1840), lawyer and bibliophile, the eldest son of James Holland, of Southwark, was educated at Reading School under Dr. Valpy, and admitted a pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, 26 Sept. 1789, at the age of seventeen. During his school days he wrote several prologues and epilogues for the annual dramatic performances in which the scholars took part, and for which Dr. Valpy's pupils were famous. At Cambridge he took his degree of B.A. in 1794, and M.A. in 1797. For three successive years (1797, 1798, and 1799) he won the Seatonian prize by his poems on the respective subiects of miracles, the Epiphany, and St. Paul at Athens, which were printed separately, and also included in the ‘Seatonian Prize Poems’ (1808), ii. 2133-97. On leaving Cambridge he determined upon adopting law as his profession, and was called to the bar at thc Middle Temple 24 April 1801. Bollnnd practised at the Old Bailey with great success; he was thoroughly conversant with commercial law, and soon became one of the four city pleaders. From April 1817 until he was raised to the bench he was recorder of Reading. He was a candidate for the common serjeantcy of the city of London in 1822, but in those days of heated political excitement was defeated by the late Lord Denman. In November 1829 he was created a baron of the exchequor, and held that appointment until January 1839, when he resigned on account of failing health. On 14 May 1840 he died at Hyde Park Terrace, London. Lady Bolland, whom he married 1 Aug. 1810, was his cousin Elizabeth, the third daughter of John Bolland, of Clapham. An anonymous satire, ‘The Campaign, to his Royal Highness the Duke of York, Britannia in the ear 1800 to C. J. Fox.’ was written by Bolland in 1800, but not issued for sale, the author confining its publicity to his friends. Although he published but little, he was known for many years as an enthusiastic student of early English literature. Dibdin dwells with unction on the pleasures of the dinner-parties of Hortensius—the fancy name by which he designated Sir William Bnlland-and extols the merits of his library. It was at a dinner-party in Bolland’s house on the Adelphi Terrace that the Roxburghe Club was originated, and its first publication was his gift. This was ‘Certain Bokes of Virgiles Aenæis turned into English meter. By the right honorable lorde, Henry, earle of Surrey.’ The books were the second and fourth, and the reprint, hearing the date of 1814, though the dedication was signed 17 June 1815, was taken from a copy of the original edition of 1557, which is preserved at Dulwich College. His collections were sold in the autumn after his death, his library of about three thousand articles producing`about 3,000l. The bust of Sir William Bolland is a familiar object to all who have studied in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. A portrait by James Lonsdale is now in the National Portrait Gallery.

[Foss's Judges, Diblin's Bibliographical Decameron, 1817, iii 27-8. Bibliomania, 1876, 132-3, 588-91, and Reminiscences, i. 368-9; Gent. Mag. 1840, pp. 433-4,]

W. P. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.30
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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323 ii 8 f.e. Bolland, Sir William: for soon became read was from 1804 till his elevation to the bench in 1829