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John Izard Middleton

Birth: 1785

Death:1849

John Izard Middleton (1785–1849) was an American archeologist and artist. Born just outside Charleston, South Carolina, he was the son of Mary Izard and Arthur Middleton (a signer of the Declaration of Independence). He was dubbed "the first American Classical Archaeologist" by Charles Eliot Norton. In 1810 he married Eliza Augusta Falconet, the daughter of a banker in Naples. Three children were born to the Middletons, but all died young. Middleton died in Paris in 1849. His remains were returned to the United States for burial at Middleton Place, South Carolina.

Admitted to Cambridge University in 1803, though it is doubtful if he resided, John Middleton spent a good part of his adult life traveling in France and in Italy. While in Italy he was attracted to the remains of ancient sites, particularly those in Latium (modern Lazio). Inspired perhaps by the work of the Frenchman Louis-Charles-Francois Petit-Radel (author of Voyage historique cronographique et philosophique dans le principales villes des l’Italie (Paris, 1815); Recherches sur le Monuments Cyclopeens (Paris, 1841)), Middleton made observations and sketches of the sites he visited.

Middleton executed the drawings while traveling in Italy during 1808 and 1809 and considered his work an artistic achievement. He attributed more importance to the drawings than the text, but because it appeared during a time of turmoil in Europe, his work received slight attention from contemporaries. Some of the drawings appeared in later works on archaeology without credit to Middleton, notably those of Edward Dodwell with whom Middleton travelled. He compiled the sketches from his travels in 1808 and 1809 in order to publish as a folio-sized book, Grecian remains in Italy: a description of Cyclopian walls, and of Roman antiquities.

References:

Norton, Charles Eliot, American Journal of Archaeology, 1 (1885):3-9.

Charles R. Mack & Lynn Robertson The Roman Remains: John Izard Middleton's Visual Souvenirs of 1820-1823 (University of South Carolina Press 1997) ISBN 1-57003-169-X.

Books & Publications

Book Title Date
Grecian Remains in Italy (1812) Grecian Remains in Italy 1812
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