An English Gentleman's Library

The Bowle-Evans collection consists of over 400 volumes (200 or so are catalogued), representative of the reading tastes and cultural interests of an English county family between 1750 and 1870. The original collector, the Reverend John Bowle (1725-1788), was a noted Cervantes scholar and an antiquarian. He spent most of his life in Wiltshire. The collection was subsequently added to by his female descendants, Anna Maria and Francis Evans, and their son, John Bowle-Evans, after whom the collection is named.

Among the titles is Bernard de Montfaucon’s Antiquity explained and represented in sculptures (London, 1721-22), a 7-volume work containing a record of classical and Egyptian religion and culture as represented in sculpture and other works of art. The library was purchased for UCT in 1957 by Rene Immelman for about £400, a large amount in those days. It was acquired from the Cole family of Byletts, near East London. Mrs. Cole had inherited the collection from her father, General C. H. Bowle-Evans in 1941. Items from this collection carry shelf-numbers with the prefix BDB.

A view of East London in about 1900
Caption: A view of East London in about 1900.