Davis, Lockyer (DNB00)

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DAVIS, LOCKYER (1719–1791), bookseller, was born in 1719, and succeeded to the business of his uncle, Charles Davis (d. 1755) [q. v.], in Holborn, opposite Gray's Inn Gate. He sold by auction like his uncle, and in partnership with Charles Reymers dispersed many libraries between 1757 and 1768; between 1770 and 1790 he sold by himself. Among the legacies of William Bowyer the younger, printer [q. v.], in 1777, was one of 100l. to Davis. He was a member of the ‘congeries,’ or club of booksellers dining monthly at the Shakespeare Tavern, who produced Johnson's ‘Lives of the Poets’ and other books. He was bookseller to the Royal Society, and nominally their printer, and was also a nominal printer of the votes of the House of Commons. Reymers was associated with him in holding the latter office. Davis was a master of the Stationers' Company and an honorary registrar of the Literary Fund, founded in 1790. Nichols speaks of his great knowledge of books and amiable manners. He carried on an extensive business as auctioneer, bookseller, and publisher, and had an excellent commercial reputation (Literary Anecdotes, vi. 436–7). He made some occasional contributions of a light description to the newspapers, particularly the ‘St. James's Chronicle,’ but the only book of which he acknowledged the authorship was ‘a new edition, revised and improved,’ of the ‘Maxims and Moral Reflections, by the Duke de la Rochefoucault,’ a translation first issued in 1749. It was published in 1775, and again in 1781, in 12mo, with a dedication to David Garrick, signed Lockyer Davis. He died suddenly at his house in Holborn 23 April 1791, in his seventy-third year. His wife, Mary, died 9 Nov. 1769, in her forty-eighth year. A tablet to the memory of husband and wife was placed under the organ loft of the church of St. Bartholomew the Great.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 297, iii. 207, 281, 625, 636–40, 646, 759, v. 325, vi. 436–7, ix. 276; Gent. Mag. lxi. pt i. (1791), 390; Timperley's Encyclopædia, pp. 746, 771.]

H. R. T.