Richard Luckett RIP

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Portrait of Samuel Pepys by John Hayls

We have learned of the death of Richard Luckett, aged 75, formerly librarian of the Samuel Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge and latterly in retirement a resident of Rye.

Son of a polymath country priest, he developed an early love for language, teaching English to Italian students in Folkestone, before studying English literature at Cambridge University. There he was prominent in musical life and after graduating he became director of studies and dean of St Catharine’s College. He wrote scholarly books and articles on a wide range of historical subjects and was appointed Pepys Librarian in 1982, a post he held for 30 years.

Samuel Pepys, diarist and secretary to the Admiralty, had given his collection of 3,000 books and manuscripts together with the shorthand volumes of his diary to his old college when he died in 1703. With the bequest came the unusual condition that no book was to be added or taken away from the collection, under penalty that the whole would be transferred to Trinity College.

Luckett’s recreations were cycling and long distance walking, both increasingly curtailed by age pains in hips and knees. A neighbour describes him as having been “helpful and courteous, a true gentleman.” He was unmarried and is survived by his sister, to whom we offer condolence.

Image Credits: John Hayls, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/Samuel_Pepys.jpg.

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