'It was a runaway success when published in 1811 by soldier Francis Grose, but now The Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue is getting tongues wagging again'The Telegraph
About the Author
Francis Grose (1731-1791) was an English antiquary, draughtsman, and lexicographer. Grose had early shown a keen interest in drawing, having attempted sketches of medieval buildings as far back as 1749, and having taken formal instruction at a drawing school in the mid-1750s. He was not a particularly gifted draughtsman but he mixed in the London artistic milieu and began to exhibit, first at the Society of Artists in 1767–8 and then at the Royal Academy. His interest was in the field of medieval remains, which were beginning to exercise an increasing grip on the public imagination. In 1772 he published the first part of The Antiquities of England and Wales, a work which he unashamedly aimed at the popular market. Essentially it targeted those who wanted to know about antiquities but had neither time nor means to visit them in person, and contained small panoramas of medieval ruins, together with an informative text on a separate page. Drawing on his own fieldwork Grose also branched out into producing dictionaries, including the famous A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785) and A Provincial Glossary, with a Collection of Local Proverbs, and Popular Superstitions (1787). Though intended to amuse they give an unusually vivid picture of the speech of the day which would not normally find inclusion in standard dictionaries, and contain in all about 9,000 terms which more scholarly works of the time habitually overlooked. He produced books on military antiquities and armour, as well as satirical essays and The Antiquities of Scotland.