Cary Coke

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Cary Coke
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BornJune 9 1680
Gloucestershire.
NationalityUnited Kingdom
CitizenshipBritish
Occupation
  • Book collector
  • Patron
Spouse(s)Edward Coke
ChildrenThree sons Two daughters

Cary Coke (née Newton),1680- 1707, was an avid book collector and patron of the British stage.

Life

Cary Coke was the daughter of Sir John Newton of Barrs Court, Gloucestershire. She was born on June 9 1680. On June 3 1696 she married Edward Coke who had inherited the hall and estate of Holkham in Norfolk. They had three sons and two daughters which survived them.[1] Their son, Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester Thomas (1697- 1759), became the 1st Earl of Leicester. Both Cary and her husband were patrons and enthusiastic for the stage. Mary Pix dedicated her play Queen Catherine to Cary in 1698.[2] In April 1707 her husband Edward died, and she followed a few months later on August 4. [3] See The National Archives for her will. They died with debts exceeding £22,000, and whilst most of their possessions were sold, books valued at £193 6s were kept for their eldest son, Thomas. [4]

Collections

Both Cary and Edward were book collectors and in 1701 each had a bookplate made. Some of these books are now located at the Holkham library.[2] Some of the Holkham Collection, including 305 English Restoration plays from the Coke collection, was purchased by the Bodleian Library in 1953.[5] The plays in the Coke collection are valuable due to their apparently unaltered condition, with none of the plays having been perfected and no volumes have been disbound to dispose of duplicates.[6] The Cokes had an appreciation for works by women writers and the plays of less famous dramatists, such as Mary Pix and Catharine Trotter. Cary seemed to have collected a number of her plays before her marriage to Edward and she still collected playbooks independently after she was married. Her collection was mostly focused on plays from the 1690s, showing her interest in contemporary works.

References

  1. James, Clive Warbuton (1929). Chief Justice Coke, His Family & Descendants at Holkham. London: Country Life. pp. 135–159.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Cary Coke 1680/1- 1707 Biographical Note".
  3. "Coke, Thomas, earl of Leicester (1697–1759), politician, architect, and art collector". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2008. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/68316. Retrieved 2020-12-08. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. James, Clive Warbuton (1929). Chief Justice Coke, His Family & Descendants at Holkham. London: Country Life. p. 164.
  5. "Rare Books Named Collection Descriptions". Bodleian Libraries. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  6. Kahrl, George M, Anderson, Dorothy (1982). The Garrick Collection of Old English Plays: A Catalogue with an Historical Introduction. London: a British Library. p. 50.

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