Milton, Thomas (DNB00)

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MILTON, THOMAS (1743–1827), engraver, born in 1743, was a son of John Milton (fl. 1770) [q. v.], marine painter. From the character of his plates it seems probable that Milton was a pupil of Woollett, and he is said to have practised for some time in London, but nothing is known of the work of his early life. He was living in Dublin in 1783, in which year appeared the first number of his ‘Views of Seats in Ireland,’ a series of twenty-four plates of singular beauty from drawings by Ashford, Barralet, Wheatley, and others; this work, upon which Milton's reputation entirely rests, was completed in 1793, he having returned to London in 1786. His only other important plate was ‘The Deluge,’ engraved for Macklin's Bible from a picture by De Loutherbourg, now in the South Kensington Museum; but specimens of his work occur in Boydell's, Kearsley's, and Steevens's editions of Shakespeare, and Ottley's ‘Stafford Gallery,’ 1818. In 1801 appeared ‘Views in Egypt, from the original Drawings in the possession of Sir Robert Ainslie, taken during his Embassy to Constantinople by Luigi Mayer, engraved by and under the direction of Thomas Milton,’ a series of coloured aquatints. Milton was a governor of the short-lived Society of Engravers founded in 1803. He died at Bristol on 27 Feb. 1827. W. Bell Scott, in his ‘Autobiographical Notes,’ 1892, observes of Milton: ‘He had a unique power of distinguishing the foliage of trees and the texture of all bodies, especially water, as it never had been done before, and never will be done again.’

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Dodd's manuscript Hist. of English Engravers (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 33403); Universal Cat. of Books on Art; Pye's Patronage of British Art, 1845, p. 312; Gent. Mag. 1827, i. 379.]

F. M. O'D.