Laing, David (1793–1878)

Antiquarian and librarian. Born in Edinburgh, he was the son of the publisher and antiquarian bookseller William Laing (1764–1832; DNB) and his wife Helen (1767–1837). The elder Laing had lent books to help Southey with his edition of Le Morte d'Arthur (1817) and Southey visited his shop on his trips to Edinburgh in 1806 and 1819. David Laing entered his father’s business, becoming a partner in 1821. As well as being highly regarded for his professional knowledge, Laing also assembled his own extensive collection of books and manuscripts. Honours included election to a Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1824 and to the post of Librarian to the Society of Writers to H.M. Signet in 1837. Southey, who supported Laing’s candidacy for the latter, shared many of his bibliophilic and antiquarian interests, and they corresponded intermittently.