Worsley, Richard (DNB00)

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WORSLEY, Sir RICHARD, seventh baronet (1751−1805), antiquary and traveller, born on 17 March 1751, was the son of Sir Thomas Worsley, sixth bart., of Appuldurcomb, Isle of Wight, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Boyle, earl of Cork and Orrery. He was educated at Winchester College, and matriculated from Corpus Christ College, Oxford, on 9 April 1768. He succeeded his father, as seventh baronet, in 1768. He became one of the clerks comptrollers of the board of green cloth in 1777, and in 1779 clerk of the privy council. In the same year he was appointed comptroller of the king's household, and he was sworn of the privy council on 9 Feb. 1780. He was subsequently British resident at Venice, and was also governor of the Isle of Wight, and a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries. From 1774 to 1784 he was member of parliament for Newport, Isle of Wight, and he represented Newtown, Isle of Wight, from 1790 to 1793 and from 1796 to 1802.

In February 1785 Worsley left Rome for an extensive journey in the Levant, accompanied by Willey Reveley [q. v.] as his draughtsman. He reached Athens on 9 May 1785, and stayed there with Gaspari, the French consul. From Athens he proceeded on a tour in Greece, visiting Eleusis, Megara (where he obtained for a small sum the statue of Asclepias, priestess of Artemis Orthosia), Epidaurus, Ægina, Delos, Myconos, Rhodes, Cairo, and Constantinople. In the spring of 1786 he made an excursion to Sigeum and Troy, and visited the Crimea. He returned to Rome on 4 April 1787. In his travels Worsley had brought together a remarkable collection of statues, reliefs, and gems, which he arranged at his house at Appuldurcomb. In 1798 he issued the first part (dated ‘1794’) of the ‘Museum Worsleyanum,’ a sumptuous illustrated description of his collection. E. Q. Visconti seems to have supplied a great deal of material for the text. The cost of part i., exclusive of binding, was 2,887l. 4s. Worsley died at Appuldurcomb on 8 Aug. 1805, and was succeeded in the title (which became extinct in 1825) by his fourth cousin, Henry Worsley-Holmes. He married, in September 1775, Seymour Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Fleming, bart., of Brompton Park, Middlesex, and had by her a son Robert Edwin, who died before his father, and a daughter, who died unmarried. The amours of Lady Worsley with the Earl of Peterborough (who first met her at Sadler's Wells) and with others are duly chronicled by Waipole (Letters, via. 135, 166), and are satirised in such publications as the ‘Memoirs of Sir Finical Whimsy and his Lady’ (1782). On 21 Feb. 1782 Worsley brought an action against George M. Bissett, an officer in the Hampshire militia, claiming 20,000l. damages for criminal conversation with his wife. The jury found for the plaintiff, but, on the ground of his connivance, awarded him only one shilling damages. Lady Worsley (who afterwards took by royal grant the name of Lady Fleming) was married a month after her husband's death to Mr. J. Louis Couchet (Gent. Mag. 1805, ii. 874).

Worsley died intestate, and his estates and property devolved to his niece, Henrietta Anna Maria Charlotte, daughter of John Bridgman Simpson, who married, in 1806, Charles Anderson-Pelham, second baron Yarborough, created (1837) Earl of Yarborough and Baron Worsley. On the sale of the Appuldurcomb property the collections formed by Worsley were removed to the Earl of Yarborough's seat, Brocklesby Park, Ulceby, Lincolnshire. The statues at Brocklesby were described by Michaelis in his ‘Ancient Marbles,’ and Mr. A. H. Smith has since printed (1897) a critical description of the whole collection. Worsley's manuscript ‘Journal’ of his travels is preserved at Brocklesby.

Worsley's publications are: 1. ‘The History of the Isle of Wight,’ London, 1781, 4to (Walpole, in his Letters, viii. 53, 54, speaks contemptuously of it). 2. ‘Museum Worsleyanum; or a Collection of Antique Basso-Relievos, Bustos, Statues, and Gems’ (with portrait of Worsley and more than 150 plates), London, 1794−1803, 2 vols. fol., text in English and Italian (pt. i. issued in 1798, pt. ii. in 1802); 2nd edit. London (Prowett), 1824, 2 vols. sm. fol., with illustrations from the original copper-plates; German transl. by Eberhard and Schaefer, Darmstadt, 1827−8, 4to; an edition of the Italian text, with notes by Giovanni Labus, Milan, 1834 (part of Visconti's collected works). 3. ‘Catalogue raisonné of the principal Paintings at Appuldercombe’ (privately printed), 1804, 4to.

[Gent. Mag. 1805, ii. 781; Berry's County Genealogies, ‘Hants;’ Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715−1886; Burke's Extinct Baronetage; Michaelis's Ancient Marbles in Great Britain; Smith's Antiquities at Brocklesby Park; Donkin's Worsley v. Bissett, 1782; Allibone's Dict.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; information from Mr. Arthur Hamilton Smith.]

W. W.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.285
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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36 ii 37 Worsley, Sir Richard: for 1802 read 1801