Henry Peacham

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The Complete Gentleman by Henry Peacham (1622). Engraving by Francis Delaram.
The Worth of a Peny, Henry Peacham the Elder

Henry Peacham is the name shared by two English Renaissance writers who were father and son.


The elder Henry Peacham (1546–1634) was an English curate, best known for his treatise on rhetoric titled The Garden of Eloquence first published in 1577. He lived at Leverton-in-Holland, in Lincolnshire.[1]

His son, Henry Peacham (b. 1578, d. in or after 1644) was a poet and writer,[2] known today primarily for his book, The Compleat Gentleman, first printed in 1622. It is presented as a guidebook on the arts for young men of good birth. In it, he discusses what writers, poets, composers, philosophers, and artists a gentlemen should study in order to become well-educated. Because he mentions a large number of contemporary artistic figures, he is often cited as a primary source in studies of Renaissance artists.

A representative passage from The Compleat Gentleman:

"For composition, I prefer next Ludovico de Victoria, a most judicious and a sweet composer: after him Orlando di Lasso, a very rare and excellent Author, who lived some forty years since in the court of the Duke of Bavier."

Further reading[edit]

The Elder[edit]

  • Shawn Smith, "Henry Peacham the Elder," The Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 236: British Rhetoricians and Logicians, 1500–1660, First Series, Detroit: Gale, 2001, pp. 188–201.
  • Willard R. Espy, The Garden of Eloquence: A Rhetorical Bestiary, New York: Dutton, 1983
  • Alan R. Young, "Henry Peacham, Author of The Garden of Eloquence (1577): A Biographical Note," Notes and Queries, vol. 24, 1977, pp. 503–507
Page from Minerua Britanna or A garden of heroical deuises, 1612

The Younger[edit]

  • Edward Chaney, The Evolution of English Collecting (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2003)
  • John Horden, "Peacham, Henry (b. 1578, d. in or after 1644)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004
  • Alan R. Young, Henry Peacham, Boston: Twayne, 1979.


  1. ^ Peacham, Henry jnr, Minerva Brittanica, London (1612), p.170 emblem "Zelus in Dream"
  2. ^ Peacham 1664


External links[edit]