Müntz, John Henry (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 39
Müntz, John Henry

by Lionel Henry Cust
Johann Heinrich Müntz in the ODNB

MÜNTZ, JOHN HENRY (fl. 1755–1775), painter, was of Swiss origin, and originally served in the French army. After the disbandment of his regiment he was found in the island of Jersey by Richard Bentley (1708-1782) [q. v.], who brought him to England, and introduced him to Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill. Walpole employed him for some time as a painter and engraver. He also recommended him to his friends William Chute and others, and Müntz worked for some time at Chute's residence, The Vyne, near Basingstoke, where some of his paintings remain. Müntz painted chiefly Italian landscapes in a hard, cold manner, of which there were several examples at Strawberry Hill. He also copied pictures for Walpole. Together with Walpole he practised the art of encaustic painting, as revived by Caylus, and they projected a joint publication on the subject. This was checked, however, by a quarrel arising from an intrigue of Müntz with one of Walpole's servants, whom he subsequently married. The incident led to his dismissal from Walpole's service. He then came to London, where in 1760 he published 'Encaustic, or Count Caylus's Method of Painting in the Manner of the Ancients,' with an etching on the title-page by himself. In 1762 he exhibited a painting in encaustic at the Society of Artists, and again in 1763. After that there are no traces of him, but he may have gone to Holland, and is probably identical with J. H. Müntz, engineer and architect, who in 1772 compiled a work with drawings on ancient vases, which remains in manuscript in the South Kensington Art Library.

[Walpole's Letters, ed. P. Cunningham, vols. i. and iii.; Edwards's Anecdotes of Painters; Chute's Hist. of The Vyne; Cat. of Books on Art (South Kensington Museum).]

L. C.