Alexander Dyce was a literary scholar and textual editor who bequeathed his substantial library and art collection to the Museum in 1869.
Alexander Dyce was born on 30 June 1798 in Edinburgh, the son of Alexander Dyce and Frederica Campbell. He graduated from Exeter College, Oxford, in 1829 and was admitted to Inner Temple in 1818, although he was never called to the bar. In 1823 Dyce was ordained as an Anglican priest and after serving in two curacies settled in London to pursue his literary and theatrical interests, which he funded through a legacy inherited from his father, who had been a lieutenant-general in the Madras Infantry of the East India Company. As a textual editor, Dyce produced editions of Beaumont and Fletcher and Shakespeare. He died on 15 May 1869 at 33 Oxford Terrace, London. Dyce’s bequest comprised 80 pictures, 63 miniatures, 802 drawings, 1,511 prints, 74 rings, 27 art objects, and 13,596 books. It was made in emulation of the John Sheepshanks gift and Dyce stipulated that a separate room or gallery was to be provided at the South Kensington Museum to house the collection.
Information in the V&A Archive
MA/1/D2023/1-8: Nominal file – Rev Alexander Dyce and John Foster, Esq (bequests)
ED 84/36: Precis of the Board Minutes of the Department of Science and Art, 8 July 1863 to 31 December 1877
Seventeenth Report of the Science and Art Department. London: George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for HMSO, 1870
Henry Cole: diaries: typed transcripts, 1822-1882
Other archival sources: see the National Register of Archives
Selected printed works
List of the bequests and donations to the South Kensington Museum, now called The Victoria and Albert Museum: completed, to 31st December 1900. London: HMSO, 1901. NAL pressmark: VA.1901.0001
Dyce Collection: a catalogue of the printed books and manuscripts bequeathed by the Reverend Alexander Dyce, 2 vols. London: HMSO, 1875. NAL pressmark: 603.AD.1094-1095; copy in V&A Archive, A0431
Hopson, J. P. ‘Dyce Alexander (1798–1869).’ In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. NAL pressmark: 920.041 DIC
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