Martyn, Thomas (fl.1760-1816) (DNB00)

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MARTYN, THOMAS (fl. 1760–1816), natural history draughtsman and pamphleteer, was a native of Coventry (Nichols, Lit. Anecdotes, viii. 432). In 1784 he was living at 26 King Street, Covent Garden, London, but by 1786 he had moved to 10 Great Marlborough Street, where, ‘at a very great expence,’ he ‘established an Academy of youths … possessing a natural genius for drawing and painting, to be cultivated and exerted under his immediate and sole direction,’ in delineating objects of natural history. He had in 1789 ten apprentices, and for his ‘Universal Conchologist’ (1784), the first work issued with their assistance, he was awarded gold medals by Pope Pius VI, the Emperor Joseph II, Ferdinand IV of Naples, and Charles IV of Spain. From the title-page of his ‘Dive into Buonaparte's Councils’ he seems in 1804 to have been living at 52 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, and the preface to the same pamphlet states that the Duke of York, to whom it is dedicated, had ‘recommended the author's son for a commission in the royal army of reserve.’

Martyn's publications, most of which are now rare, include: 1. ‘Hints of important Uses to be derived from Aerostatic Globes. With a Print of an Aerostatic Globe … originally designed in 1783,’ 1784, 4to, the coloured frontispiece representing a nearly globular balloon, with a parachute and a boat-like car, with sails and a sail-rudder, while the author's object is stated to be ‘to expedite the communication of important events, to increase the means of safety both to fleets and armies, to furnish facts to meteorology, and to facilitate the discoveries of astronomy.’ 2. ‘The Universal Conchologist, exhibiting the figure of every known Shell, accurately drawn and painted after Nature, with a new systematic arrangement,’ bearing as a second title ‘Figures of non-descript Shells collected in the different Voyages to the South Seas since the year 1764,’ 1784, 4 vols. fol., in French and English, with descriptions of the chief British collections and forty coloured plates. 3. ‘The Soldiers and Sailors' Friend,’ 1786, 8vo, a pamphlet suggesting a national assessment for the maintenance of superannuated and disabled soldiers and sailors. 4. ‘A short Account of the Nature, Principle, and Progress of a Private Establishment …,’ 1789, 4to, in French and English, giving an account of Martyn's academy of painting and complimentary letters as to the ‘Universal Conchologist,’ with a plate of the medals awarded to him for it. 5. ‘The English Entomologist, exhibiting all the Coleopterous Insects found in England, including upwards of five hundred different Species, the Figures of which have never before been given to the Public … Drawn and Painted after Nature, arranged and named according to the Linnean System, … at his Academy for Illustrating and Painting Natural History,’ 1792, 4to, containing forty-two plates. 6. ‘Aranei, or a Natural History of Spiders …,’ 1793, 4to, with a coloured frontispiece and seventeen plates, the preface stating that the editor purchased Albin's original drawings at the sale of the Duchess Dowager of Portland's Museum. 7. ‘Figures of Plants,’ 1795, 4to; forty-three plates of exotics without names or other imprints. 8. ‘Psyche: Figures of non-descript Lepidopterous Insects …,’ 1797, 4to, with thirty-two plates, containing ninety-six figures with scientific descriptions supplied in manuscript. Ten copies only of this book were published: two are in the British Museum. 9. ‘A Dive into Buonaparte's Councils on his projected Invasion of old England,’ 1804, 8vo. 10. ‘Great Britain's Jubilee Monitor and Briton's Mirror … of their most sacred Majesties George III and Charlotte his Queen,’ 1810, 8vo. Martyn edited ‘Natural System of Colours …, by the late Moses Harris [q. v.],’ 1811, 4to, with a dedication to Benjamin West, ‘the British Raphael.’

[Martyn's works above named; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816.]

G. S. B.