b.1722 d.28th Feb 1774
Anthony Askew, M.D., was born at Kendal, in Westmoreland, in 1722. He was the eldest son of Adam Askew, M.B., of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, by his wife Ann, daughter and co-heiress of Richard Cracken-thorp, esq., of Newbiggin, co. Westmoreland. His father was a physician in such estimation at Newcastle that he was considered another Radcliffe, and was consulted by all the families of consequence for many miles around. Anthony Askew was educated at the grammar school of Sedburgh, whence he proceeded to Emmanuel college, Cambridge, of which he was elected a fellow, and where he remained until December, 1745, when he took the degree of bachelor of medicine. He then went to Leyden and remained there twelve months, soon after which we find him in the suite of the English ambassador at Constantinople. He remained abroad for three years, visiting Athens and Hungary, and returning home through Italy and Paris, where, in 1749, he was elected a member of the Academy of Belles Lettres. At Paris he had an opportunity of purchasing several rare MSS., early editions of the classics, and valuable books in various branches of science, and of laying the foundation of that elegant and extensive library which afterwards became so celebrated. Having finished his travels, he returned to Cambridge, and proceeded doctor of medicine in 1750. He settled in London; was admitted a fellow of the Royal Society 8th February, 1749; a Candidate of the College of Physicians 25th June, 1752; and a Fellow, 25th June, 1753. On the 22nd August, 1754, he was elected physician to St. Bartholomew’s hospital. He delivered the Harveian oration in 1758; was Censor in 1756, 1761, 1764, 1766, 1767; and Registrar from 1767 to his death in 1774.
On Dr. Askew’s settling in London he was visited by all who were distinguished for learning or curious in the fine arts. He soon acquired the warm friendship of Dr. ’Mead, to whom he had, while studying physic at the university of Leyden, dedicated his specimen of an edition of Æschylus, and who, we are told by Dr. Dibdin, " supported him with a sort of paternal zeal; nor did he find in his protégé an ungrateful son. Few minds were probably more congenial than were those of Mead and Askew: the former had a magnificence of sentiment which infused into the mind of the latter just notions of a character aiming at solid intellectual fame, without the petty arts and dirty tricks which we now see too frequently pursued to obtain it. Dr. Askew, with less pecuniary means of gratifying it, evinced an equal ardour in the pursuit of books, MSS., and inscriptions. I have heard from a very worthy old gentleman who used to revel ’midst the luxury of Askew’s table, that few men exhibited their books and pictures, or, as he called it, showed the lions, better than did the doctor. Of his attainments in Greek and Latin literature it becomes not me to speak, when such a scholar as Dr. Parr has been eloquent in their praise." Amongst the other rich stores of Dr. Askew’s library was a complete collection of the editions of Æschylus, some illustrated with MS. Notes, and likewise one or two, if not more, MSS. Of the same author, which were collected purposely with the intention of publishing an edition of Æschylus. So early as the year 1746 he had printed a specimen of his intended edition, in a small quarto pamphlet, under the title of" Novæ Editionis Tragoediarum Æscliyli Specimen, curante Antonio Askew, M.B. Coll: Emman: apud Cantabrigienses haud ita pridem Socio Commensali. Ludg: Bat: 1746." This pamphlet, which has now become very scarce, consisted only of 25 lines of the "Eumenides." It contained various readings from his MSS. And books, and the "Notæ Variorum."
Dr. Askew resided in Queen's-square. "His house was crammed full of books, the passages were full, the very garrets overflowed, and the wags of the day used to say that the half of the square itself would have done so before the book appetite of Dr. Askew would have been satia
(Volume II, page 185)
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