The Walton Collection

Christopher Walton (1809-1877) Rare book and manuscript collection.

Walton was a collector of theosophical works. He began business as a silk mercer and then made his wealth as a jeweller and goldsmith; he spent a great deal on his Theosophical Library at 8 Ludgate Hill. Walton’s primary interests, and the energetic if chaotic style in which he gathered materials, are suggested by the title of an octavo volume he published in a limited edition in 1856:  Notes and materials for an adequate biography of the celebrated divine and theosopher William Law. Comprising an elucidation of the scope and contents of the writings of Jacob Bohme, and of his great commentator, Dionysius Andreas Freher…. He gave his collection to Dr Williams’s Library near the end of his life (1876), stipulating that it should continue to be freely available to all those interested in the subject. The Walton Collection has suffered much wear and tear over the years and due to poor storage is now in need of extensive conservation work. The collection has recently been moved into our strong rooms and is currently being evaluated for conservation and preservation care. In addition to many unique manuscripts that await scholarly editing, it contains diagrams by Freher that illustrate the ideas of the German mystical philosopher Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), many of them strikingly colourful and evocative. These would be very suitable items for adoption, as would volumes such as Walton’s copy of the memoirs of the radical seventeenth-century vegetarian Thomas Tryon.