Jones, William, Sir, 1746-1794

Alternative names
Birth 1746-09-28
Death 1794-04-27
Persian, English

Biographical notes:

English orientalist and jurist.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : London, to Mr. Cadell, bookseller, 1775 Jan. 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270488044

From the description of Autograph letter signed : "Crishna nagar", to Thomas Law in Behar, 1787 Sept. 21. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270486812

William Jones (1746-1794) was a British lawyer in India and pioneer of comparative linguistic studies. Born in London in 1746, Jones later enrolled at University College, Oxford in 1764 and began studying linguistics and Oriental culture and literature. Jones studied Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit, becoming an expert in the field of comparative and historic linguistics. He spent several years after graduating working on translations of texts from these languages. After receiving his degree, he studied law at Middle Temple in London from 1770-1773. In 1772, William Jones became a fellow of the Royal Society as well as a practicing lawyer. In 1783 he was knighted, becoming Sir William Jones, and was appointed to a position as a judge in British-controlled India. Jones continuted his studies of Oriental languages and literature in India, and during this time produced additional translations as well as original works. In addition to language and literature, Jones produced works on botony, astrology, zoology and law. In 1784 Sir William Jones founded the Asiatic Society with the purpose of promoting the study of Asiatic cultures and languages. Jones continued his studies and his work as a judge until his death in Calcutta in 1794.

Sources: Cannon, Garland. The Collected Works of Sir William Jones, Vol., New York: NYU Press, 2003. Jones, Sir William. The Poetical Works of Sir William Jones with the life of the author, Vol.1 London: Cadell and Davies, 1807.

From the guide to the Sir William Jones Manuscripts, ca. 1100-1794, (© 2012 Fales Library and Special Collections)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Manuscripts, Bengali
  • Devanagari type
  • Pleading
  • Persian language--Grammar
  • India--History--British occupation, 1765-1947
  • Manuscripts, Persian
  • Prose
  • Zodiac
  • Manuscripts, Sanskrit
  • Linguistics
  • Persian language and literature--Grammar
  • Porcelain--Oriental
  • Oriental philology
  • Forms (Law)


not available for this record


  • Great Britain (as recorded)