City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Brooke Boothby (1743-1824)
Sir Brooke Boothby, 6th Baronet (3 June 1744 – 23 January 1824) was a linguist, translator, poet and landowner, based in Derbyshire, England. He was part of the intellectual and literary circle of Lichfield, which included Anna Seward and Erasmus Darwin. In 1766 he welcomed the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Ashbourne circles, after Rousseau's short stay in London with Hume. Ten years later, in 1776, Boothby visited Rousseau in Paris, and was given the manuscript of the first part of Rousseau's three-part autobiographic Confessions. Boothby translated the manuscript and published it in Lichfield in 1780 after the author's death, and donated the document to the British Library in 1781.
The well-known portrait of Boothby by Joseph Wright of Derby, from 1781, shows him reclining in a wooded glade with a book carrying on its cover simply the name Rousseau, indicating Boothby's admiration and promotion of the writer and his work generally.
Several portraits were also made of Boothby's daughter, Penelope — by Henry Fuseli and Joshua Reynolds and in sculpture by Thomas Banks. She died young, and was the subject of a book of poetry by her grieving father.