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Lysons, Samuel, 1763-1819



  • Existence: 1763 - 1819


Samuel Lysons FSA FRS (1763 – June 1819) was an English antiquarian and engraver who, together with his elder brother Daniel Lysons (1762–1834), published several works on antiquarian topics. He was one of the first archaeologists to investigate Roman sites in Britain, and specialised in the study of mosaics.


He was born at Rodmarton near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, the younger son of the Reverend Samuel Lysons (1730–1804) by his wife Mary Peach of Rodmarton. His elder brother was Daniel Lysons (1762–1834), his collaborator in much of his work.


In November 1786, Lysons was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Samuel studied law at Bath in Somerset and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1798 and having chosen the Oxford Circuit, he practised law until December 1803. Samuel served as director of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 1798 to 1809. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1797 and later served as vice-president and treasurer (1810–1819) of the Society. Shortly before he died, he also served as antiquary professor in the Royal Academy. His portrait was painted by, among others, Academicians Sir Thomas Lawrence and George Dance the Younger.

From 1803 until his death in 1819 he was Keeper of the Records in the Tower of London, then one of the principal storage sites for historic government documents and other archives until the opening in 1838 of the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane (since superseded by the National Archives, Kew). He wrote the descriptions for Cadell and Davies version of Britannia depicta.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William Legge 2nd Earl of Dartmouth letter

Identifier: Mss 796109
Mss 796109
Date(s): 1796-01-09
Scope and Contents

Three page letter from William Legge 2nd Earl of Dartmouth in [London, England] to Samuel Lysons informing Lysons that he will probably be appointed to the office of Keeper of the Records. Mentions Cobbett and Addington.

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