Kemp, John (1665-1717) (DNB00)

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KEMP, JOHN (1665–1717), antiquary, born in 1665, was possessed of private means, and resided in the parish of St. Martin-in-the Fields, London. He was elected F.R.S. on 20 March 1712 (Thomson, Hist. Roy. Soc. App. iv.), and died unmarried on 19 Sept. 1717. He had a fine museum of antiquities, chiefly formed by Jean Gailhard, a Frenchman, who was governor to George, first lord Carteret. Gailhard sold it to lord Carteret for an annuity of 200l., and Kemp subsequently bought it. By his will (P. C. C. 171, Whitfield) he directed that the museum (with books) should be offered to Lord Oxford or his son for 2,000l. The proposal was declined. Robert Ainsworth [q. v.] drew up an elaborate account of Kemp's antiquities entitled ‘Monvmenta vetustatis Kempiana, ex vetustis scriptoribus illustrata, eosque vicissim illustrantia,’ &c., 2 pts. 8vo, London, 1719–20. Professor John Ward furnished him with the descriptions of the statues and lares, with the discourse ‘De Vasis et Lucernis, de Amuletis, de Annulis et Fibulis,’ and with the ‘Commentarius de Asse et partibus ejus,’ which had been printed in 1719.

The collection was eventually sold by auction at the Phœnix tavern in Pall Mall on 23, 24, 25, and 27 March 1721, in 293 lots, for 1,090l. 8s. 6d. Six ancient inscriptions, bought by Dr. Richard Rawlinson, are now at Oxford, and appear in the ‘Marmora Oxoniensia.’

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. v. 249, 519; Gough's Brit. Topography, i. 671; Maty's Life of Mead; Thoresby's Diary, ii. 31, 112, 139.]

G. G.