MASON, William (1725-1797). Poet and garden designer. Close friend of Thomas Gray.
Autograph Letter Signed to an unnamed correspondent, 2 pages 8vo (transparent mounting tape to second page), St John College, Cambridge, 8 December 1747. Evidently to a literary acquaintance, very likely his senior (concluding 'I am / Sr/ Your most Hum: Ser:'), asking whether he was about to publish a poetical miscellany, and commenting on his own work.
'We have a report here that you are going to publish a Poetical Miscellany but whether it is to consist of Ms Poems or such as have been before printed in Pamphlets is uncertain. I have some particular reason for desiring information from you in this affair. ...Mason's first significant poem was his Museaus: a Monody to the memory of Mr Pope, in Imitation of Milton's Lycidas, and it is presumably to this poem that the present letter refers.
As well as writing about gardens Mason visited those of his friends around the country and was responsible for the designs for Richard Hurd at Thurcaston, Lord Jersey at Middleton Park and Lord Harcourt at Nuneham Courtenay in Oxfordshire.
Provenance: from a collection formed by A.M. Broadley in 1903.
The image is of the first page.