Thomas Milton, Engraver

(b. 1743, d. 1827)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in England in 1743, the son of John Milton, marine painter, who was descended from Sir Christopher Milton, brother of the poet. Nothing is known of his early life or works, but he was probably a pupil of Woollett. He was in Dublin in 1783, and in that year there appeared the first number of his Views in Ireland, "A Collection of Select Views from the different Seats of the Nobility and Gentry in the Kingdom of Ireland, engraved by Thomas Milton from original drawings by the best artists." The work, an oblong quarto, contains twenty-four plates engraved in line after various artists, including Ashford, Barralet, T. Roberts and Wheatley. These little engravings are works of singular beauty, engraved with great delicacy and strength, and constitute the most charming record of Irish scenery and places which have ever been published. Of them W. Bell Scott, in his "Autobiographical Notes," says that Milton "had a unique power of distinguishing the foliage of trees and the texture of all bodies, especially water, as it had never been done before and never will be done again." The work was issued in numbers containing four plates with explanatory text, and sold at 5s. 6d. Plates I to XII were published by Walker, Charing Cross, London, for T. Milton; they are dated 1783 and 1785. In 1786 Milton left Dublin and returned to London, and the remainder of the plates, dated 1786, 1787 and 1793, were published by the engraver himself in London. These views constitute his best work upon which his reputation as an engraver mainly rests. He afterwards contributed plates to "Macklin's Bible," including "The Deluge," one of his best plates, after a picture by De Loutherbourg now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Plates by him are also in Boydell's and other editions of "Shakespeare," and in Ottley's "Stafford Gallery." He also did a series of coloured aquatints of "Views in Egypt" after designs by Luigi Meyer. Milton died at Bristol on 27th February, 1827.

The following are his plates in his "Views of Seats in Ireland":

1. Phoenix Lodge; after J. J. Barralet. 1783.

2. Leinster House; after J. J. Barralet. 1783.

3. Lucan House; after J. J. Barralet. 1783.

4. The Dargle; after J. J. Barralet. 1783.

5. Marino; after F. Wheatley. 1783

6. Belan House, Co. Kildare; after W. Ashford. 1783.

7. Malahide Castle; after F. Wheatley. 1783.

8. The Scalp, in Co. Wicklow; after W. Ashford. 1783.

9. Bessborough; after W. Ashford. 1785.

10. Brockley Park, Queen's Co.; after W. Pars. 1785.

11. Beau Parc; after T. Roberts. 1785.

12. The Salmon Leap; after F. Wheatley. No date.

13. Lismore; after W. Pars, as engraved on the plate, but really by Wheatley (q.v.). 1786.

14. Howth House; after F. Wheatley. 1786.

15. Florence Court; after J. J. Barralet. 1786.

16. Glen Molour; after F. Wheatley. 1786.

17. Tullymore Park; after J. J. Barralet. 1787.

18. Mount Kennedy; after W. Ashford. 1787.

19. Ballyfin; after W. Ashford. No date.

20. Lucan; after T. Roberts. 1787.

21. Glenarm; after J. J. Barralet. 1793.

22. Shane's Castle; after W. Ashford. 1793.

23. Tarbert; after F. Wheatley. 1793.

24. Dunran, Co. Wicklow; after W. Ashford. 1793.

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