Wroth, Warwick William (DNB12)

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WROTH, WARWICK WILLIAM (1858–1911), numismatist, born at Clerkenwell, London, on 24 Aug. 1858, was eldest son in the family of four sons and four daughters of Warwick Reed Wroth (1824–1867), vicar from 1854 to his death of St. Philip's, Clerkenwell (see preface to Wroth's Sermons, chiefly Mystical, edited by J. E. Vaux, 1869). His mother was Sophia, youngest daughter of Thomas Brooks, of Ealing, Middlesex.

After education at the King's School, Canterbury, where he had a sound classical training, Wroth joined the staff of the British Museum as an assistant in the medal room on 22 July 1878, and held the post for life. He mainly devoted his energies to a study of Greek coins, and made a high reputation by his continuation of the catalogues of Greek coins at the museum which his predecessors, S. L. Poole, Mr. Barclay Head, and Mr. Percy Gardner, had begun. Wroth's catalogues, in six volumes all illustrated with many plates, dealt with coins of Eastern Greece beginning with those of ‘Crete and the Ægean Islands’ (1886), and proceeding with those of ‘Pontus, Paphlagonia, Bithynia and the Kingdom of Bosporus’ (1889); of ‘Mysia’ (1892); of ‘Galatia, Cappadocia and Syria’ (1899); of ‘Troas, Æolis and Lesbos’ (1894); and finally of ‘Parthia’ (1903). Subsequently he prepared catalogues, which also took standard rank, of ‘Imperial Byzantine Coins’ (2 vols. 1908) and of the coins of the ‘Vandals, Ostrogoths and Lombards’ (1911). Before his death he returned to Greek coinage, and was preparing to catalogue that of Philip II and Alexander III, and the later kings of Macedon.

Outside his numismatic work at the museum, Wroth made between 1882 and 1907 valuable contributions to the ‘Journal of Hellenic Studies’ and the ‘Numismatic Chronicle.’ To the ‘Journal’ he contributed in 1882 ‘A Statue of the Youthful Asklepios’ (pp. 46–52) and ‘Telesphoros at Dionysopolis’ (pp. 282–300). For the ‘Numismatic Chronicle’ he wrote also in 1882 on ‘Asklepios and the Coins of Pergamon’ (pp. 1–51); on ‘Cretan Coins’ in 1884 (pp. 1–58), and several papers on ‘Greek Coins acquired by the British Museum, 1887–1902’ (1888–1904). He also co-operated with Mr. Barclay Head in 1911 in a new edition of Head's ‘Historia Numorum’ (1887). Wroth was a regular contributor of memoirs, chiefly of medallists, to this Dictionary from its inception in 1885 until his death.

Wroth's interests were not confined to numismatics. He was an eager student of English literature, especially of the eighteenth century; he had a wide knowledge of the history of London, of which he owned a good collection of prints. With his brother, Arthur Edgar Wroth, he published in 1896 ‘The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century,’ a scholarly and pleasantly written embodiment of many years' research. This was supplemented by a paper on ‘Tickets of Vauxhall Gardens’ (Numismatic Chron. 1898, pp. 73–92) and by ‘Cremorne and the Later London Gardens’ (1907). He was elected F.S.A. on 7 March 1889.

Wroth died unmarried at his residence at West Kensington after an operation for peritonitis on 26 Sept. 1911.

[The Times, 28 and 29 Sept. 1911; Brit. Mus. Cat.; private information; Athenæum, 30 Sept. 1911; Numismatic Chron. 1912, 107 seq. (memoir by G. F. Hill with bibliography by J. Allan).]

W. B. O.