Millingen, James (DNB00)
|←Milliken, Richard Alfred||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 37
|Millingen, John Gideon→|
MILLINGEN, JAMES (1774–1845), archaeologist, brother of John Gideon Millingen [q. v.], was second son of Michael Millingen, a Dutch merchant who had emigrated from Rotterdam to Batavia, and had married there Elizabeth Westflaten Coole, daughter of the Dutch governor of the island. The family sprang from the small town named Millingen in the north-west of Holland. Leaving Batavia, the elder Millingen settled in Queen's Square, Westminster, where James was born on 18 Jan. 1774. An elder brother died at the age of fourteen and was buried in the abbey cloisters. The epitaph was written by the poet Cowper, who was friendly with the family. James was educated at Westminster School, and soon attracted the attention of his father's friend and neighbour, Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode [q. v.], who encouraged him to study numismatics. Millingen also studied the science of war, but his health prevented him from pursuing a design of entering the engineer corps. The father's business seriously decreased while James was still a youth, and when the family in 1790 migrated to Paris, in a vague hope of benefiting under the régime initiated by the French revolution. James reluctantly became a clerk in the banking house of M. Van de Nyver, a connection of his mother. After the events of 10 Aug. 1792, Mrs. Millingen with her two sons escaped to Calais, but the elder Millingen soon brought them again to Paris.
James obtained a post in the French mint. There he became acquainted with Monger, the director, a well-known mineralogist, while he made the acquaintance at the Royal (or National) Library of the director, the Abbé Courcy Barthélemy, and of the geographer Barbié du Bocage, and also came to know Walckenaer, De Non, D'Aumont, and other archæologists.
Late in 1792 Millingen was arrested as a British subject by a decree of the National Convention, and confined first in the prison of the Madelonettes, then in that of the Luxembourg, and finally in the Collège des Écossais, where he remained till the events of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794). At the Collège des Écossais he became acquainted with two fellow-prisoners, Charles Este, son of the Rev. Charles Este (1753-1829), and Sir Robert Smith of Beerchurch Hall, Essex.
On obtaining his liberty Millingen settled in Calais, but subsequently became a partner in the banking house of Sir Robert Smith & Co. in the Rue Céruti, Paris. The concern failed, and Millingen was thrown on his own resources. A martyr to asthma, he resided in Italy, where he compiled valuable works on coins, medals, Etruscan vases, and kindred subjects. He wrote admirably in French and Italian. He bought antiquities with rare judgment, and supplied most of the great museums of Europe with their choicest specimens of ancient art. He frequently offered his purchases to the trustees of the British Museum. For some time he lived at Rome and at Naples, where he made the acquaintance of Lady Blessington, but latterly settled at Florence, paying occasional visits to Paris and London. A civil list pension of 100l. a year was granted him, and he was royal associate and later honorary member of the Royal Society of Literature, fellow of the Societies of Antiquaries of London and of France, correspondent of the Institute of France (18 Jan. 1833), and member of many other learned academies of Europe.
Millingen, when on the eve of removing from Florence to London, died of a severe catarrhal affection on 1 Oct. 1845. He married, at Calais about 1797, Elizabeth Penny, daughter of Christopher White of Calais, and had three sons: Horace, a captain in the Madras army (invalided in 1830); Julius Michael [q. v.]; and Augustus, assistant surgeon in the East India Company's service at Madras (retired in 1831); and a daughter. He was a staunch churchman, and when his wife and daughter became Roman catholics a separation between him and them followed. In his later years he was much distressed by a detention, owing to his wife's machinations, of his son Julius in a school of the inquisition.
His works are: 1. 'Recueil de quelques Médailles Grecques inédites,' 4to, Rome, 1812. 2. 'Peintures antiques et inédites de Vases Grecs; avec des explications,' fol. Rome, 1813; from a collection formerly in the possession of Caroline Murat, queen of Naples. Included in vol. ii. of S. Reinach's 'Bibliothèque des Monuments figurés,' 4to, 1891. 3. 'Peintures antiques de Vases Grecs de la collection de Sir J. Coghill,' fol. Rome, 1817. 4. 'Ancient Unedited Monuments, Painted Greek Vases, Statues, Busts, Bas-Reliefs, and other Remains of Grecian Art, from Collections in various Countries, illustrated and explained,' three pts. 4to, London, 1822-6, discontinued for want of public patronage. 5. 'Ancient Coins of Greek Cities and Kings, from various collections . . . illustrated and explained,' 4to, London, 1831. 6. 'Some Remarks on the State of Learning and Fine Arts in Great Britain; on the Deficiency of Public Institutions,' etc., 8vo, London, 1831. 7. 'Sylloge of Ancient Unedited Coins of Greek Cities and Kings, from various Collections,' 4to, London, 1837. 8. 'Considérations sur la Numismatique de l'Ancienne Italie, principalement sous le rapport de monumens historiques et philologiques (avec Supplément),' 8vo, Florence 1841-4. He left in manuscript another work on unedited and obscure Greek coins.
Millingen translated from the French of A. L. Millin de Grandmaison, and edited, with a supplement, 'Medallic History of Napoleon,' &c., 2 vols. 4to, London, 1819-21. To the 'Archæologia' (xix. 70-4), he contributed in 1818 'Some Observations on an Antique Bas-Relief, on which the Evil Eye, or Fascinum, is represented,' which was reissued in a separate form. He likewise contributed some excellent papers to the 'Transactions' of the Royal Society of Literature, the 'Revue de la Numismatique Française,' and to the 'Annali' and 'Bullettini' of the Instituto Archeologico di Roma. His valuable library was sold in London on 25-9 June 1849.
[Information kindly supplied by T. Bailey Saunders, esq.; Gent. Mag. 1846 pt. i. pp. 98-9; Classical Museum, iv. 91-5; Biographie Universelle (Michaud), xxviii. 306-7; Nouvelle Biographie Générale, xxxv. 541-3; Athenæum, 1 Nov. 1845, p. 1058; Addit. MS. 22891, f. 339; East India Register; Moore's Life of Byron (1847); J. Gideon Millingen's Recollections of Republican France; Literary Life and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington, ii. 144.]