Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 35.djvu/390

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Maittaire
Maittaire
384

regular or technical artistic training, he developed very early in life a remarkable love for pictures and an insight into merit in the case of artists whose excellence was at that time unrecognised. During several journeys to Italy he became acquainted with the works of the early Italian masters, and formed the basis of an important part of his collection, at a time when the work of Botticelli and others was wholly unappreciated by the artistic world. The finest schools of English landscape painting were largely represented in his collection. From the time of his first marriage, with Lydia, only daughter of Lieutenant-colonel Serjentson Prescott, which took place in Florence in 1842, until his death, he lived at Stansted. His literary taste, and his love of sport and everything connected with outdoor life were among his most prominent characteristics, and he was almost as great an authority on the merits of a dog as on those of a picture. He died suddenly at Stansted 15 Feb. 1876, and was buried there 19 Feb. Contrary to usual custom, a vote of condolence was passed by the Royal Academy to his widow, and it was acknowledged that he had largely contributed to the success of the Royal Academy Old Masters' Exhibitions, to which during many years he lent pictures. After his death the bulk of the collection was exhibited at the South Kensington Museum; and subsequently nine of the most important pictures were sold to the National Gallery.

Four children were the issue of his first marriage, and by his second wife, Charlotte Elizabeth Dick, daughter of James Munro Macnabb, whom he married in 1852, he had an only daughter.

[G. H. Rogers-Harrison's Genealogical and Historical Account of the Maitland Family (privately printed), 1869; Graduati Cantabrigienses; Edward T. Cook's Handbook to the National Gallery; private information and personal knowledge.]

J. A. F. M.

MAITTAIRE, MICHAEL (1668–1747), classical scholar and typographer, was born in France in 1668 of protestant parents, who about the time of the revocation of the edict of Nantes sought refuge in England (Biographie Universelle; Nichols, Lit. Anecd. iv. 556, says his birthplace is not known). He obtained a king's scholarship at Westminster School in 1682. Dr. Busby, then head-master, 'kept him to the study of Greek and Latin some years longer than usual.' He was grateful for his Westminster training, and afterwards compiled his 'Græcæ Linguæ Dialecti' and 'English Grammar' for the use of Westminster School. On leaving school he visited the Hague, where he was well received by the Vaillants, and then proceeded to Paris. On returning to England he gained the goodwill of Dr. South (at the time canon of Christ Church, Oxford), through compiling, it is said, a list of the Greek words that were wrongly accented in the works of Sherlock. South made him 'canoneer' student of Christ Church, and he took the degree of M.A. on 23 March 1696, being incorporated M.A. at Cambridge in 1708. In 1695 he was appointed second master of Westminster, but resigned in 1699 and kept a private school, one of the pupils at which was Stephen Martin Leake [q. v.], the herald and numismatist. Late in life he was Latin tutor to Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield's son. In 1728 he was living in a house in Orange Street, near Holborn, London (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. i. 388). Maittaire began to publish about 1706. His works consist principally of his 'Annales Typographici' and other laborious writings on the history of printing in Europe, and of editions of the classics, especially the series of Latin classics printed in duodecimo by Tonson and Watts of London from 1713 to 1719. In character, Maittaire was 'modest and unassuming.' Dr. Johnson (referring chiefly to Maittaire's 'Stephanorum Historia' and the 'Dialecti') says that he had a large measure of scholarship, but was 'puzzle-headed' and without genius (Boswell, Life of Johnson, chap. xliv. anno 1780). Pope, who often spoke disdainfully of critical scholarship, had made Maittaire in the manuscript of the 'Dunciad' (bk. iii.) an inhabitant of the 'Kingdom of Dullness:'

On yonder part what fogs of gathered air
Invest the scene, there museful sits Maittaire.

But these lines were never printed, owing to a request made for their suppression by the Earl of Oxford, a patron of Maittaire (Pope, Works, ed. Elwin, viii. 235).

Maittaire died on 7 Sept. 1747, aged 79 (Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 447). During fifty years he had formed a large library, rich in classical authors and in early printed editions by Aldus, the Stephenses, the Elzevirs, &c. This was sold by auction in London by Cock & Langford, the sale beginning on 21 Nov. 1748 and lasting for forty-four evenings. A copy of the sale catalogue (which was printed from Maittaire's own manuscript catalogue), with the prices marked, is in the British Museum. There is a good mezzotint of Maittaire by Faber from a painting by B. Dandridge, inscribed 'Michael Maittaire A.M. Amicorum Jussu.' Nichols (Lit. Anecd. iv. 564) also mentions two portraits of him as having been in the possession,