Smith, Joseph (1682 -1770)
Joseph Smith went to Venice as a young man and quickly became known as an ardent collector of books and objets d'art. In 1740 he was appointed British Consul at Venice, a post he retained until 1760. About 1758, he married a sister of John Murray, Resident at Venice, and afterwards Ambassador at the Porte. In 1762, Smith's library was bought for George III at the cost of £10,000, and formed the nucleus of the King's Library. Mr Smith continued to collect books and his second library was sold by auction in 1773. A catalogue of his first library was printed in Venice in 1755, under the title Bibliotheca Smithiana, seu Catalogus librorum D. Josephi Smithii Angli. His second library was sold by Baker & Leigh 25 January 1773 and by J. Robson in February 1773, the sale taking thirteen days. A valuable portion of his manuscripts was purchased for Blenheim Palace by Lord Sutherland, who gave £1,500 for them, according to Humphrey Wanley's diary. His incunables were, for the most part, uniformly bound in vellum with green goatskin titling labels, with the bookplate, but without the armorial stamp on the outside. Smith's antique gems were described and illustrated in A. F. Gori's Dactyliotheca Smithiana. 2 vols, 1767.