Mitan, James (DNB00)

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MITAN, JAMES (1776–1822), engraver, was born in London on 13 Feb. 1776, and educated at an academy in Soho. In 1790 he was articled to a writing engraver named Vincent; but, desiring to qualify himself for higher work, he obtained instruction from J. S. Agar, studied in the schools of the Royal Academy, and made copies of Bartolozzi's tickets. Mitan became an able engraver in the line-manner, chiefly of book illustrations; but as he worked largely for other engravers, the plates bearing his name are not numerous. Of these the best were done for Mrs. Inchbald's 'British Theatre' 1806-9, Sharpe's 'Poets' and 'Classics,' Bannatyne's edition of Shakespeare, T. Moore's 'Irish National Airs' (after Stothard), 1818, Dibdin's 'Bibliographical Tour through France and Germany,' 1821, and 'Ædes Althorpianæ,' 1822, and Jarvis's translation of 'Don Quixote' (after Smirke), 1825. A set of fifty-six small plates of natural history engraved by Mitan, apparently from his own designs, was published in 1822. Between 1802 and 1805 he exhibited at the Royal Academy a series of compositions illustrating George Moore's 'Theodosius de Zulvin,' and in 1818 a design for a national memorial of the victory of Waterloo. In the latter year he also made a design, eighteen feet long, for a chain bridge over the Mersey. Mitan did much work for the admiralty and the Freemasons. He died of paralysis in Warren Street, Fitzroy Square, on 16 Aug. 1822 leaving a wife and family. A plate of C. R. Leslie's 'Anne Page and Slender,' which Mitan left unfinished, was completed by Engleheart and published in 1823.

Mitan, Samuel (1786–1843), brother and pupil of James Mitan, practised in the same style. He engraved many of the plates in Captain Batty's 'French Scenery,' 1822, and was employed upon Ackermann's various publications. He became a member of the Artists' Annuity Fund in 1810, and died at the Polygon, Somers Town, 3 June 1843.

[Gent. Mag. 1823 ii. 86, 1843 ii. 104; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Royal Academy Catalogues.]

F. M. O'D.