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Answers to Hard Questions: The Residence of Thomas Butts

Mr Ruthven Todd speculates about where Blake’s patron Thomas Butts lived (Blake Newsletter, II [1968], 25-27). Thomas Butts was by 1789 living in a fine large house at about Number 9 on the north side of Great Marlborough Street, Westminster. The house was rated at £44, which suggests that it was considerably more pretentious than Blake’s house a few hundred yards away at 28 Poland Street, which was rated at £18. I do not know when Butts arrived in the Marlborough Street house, but he had not been there when the rates were collected in 1787. (This information is based upon the rate books for Great Marlboro[ugh] Ward in Westminster Public Library, Buckingham Palace Road, London.) Blake’s letters were addressed to him at this house through 1803.

Thereafter he moved to a more elegant neighbourhood, for in 1808 George Cumberland wrote that “Mr. Butts [lives at] Fitzroy Square Corner of Grafton Square 27 [word illeg]” (BM Add. MSS. 36519 1, f. 40), This is presumably the house at 17 Grafton Street (which was on the corner of Grafton Street and Fitzroy Square) where Butts died in 1845 (“Thomas Butts, White Collar Maecenas”, PMLA, LXXI [1956], 1066n).

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