Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Duane, Matthew

DUANE, MATTHEW (1707–1785), coin collector and antiquary, was born in 1707 (Duane's mural monument; Gent. Mag. says 1703). He was a lawyer by profession, and was eminent as a conveyancer. Charles Butler [q. v.] was his pupil, and he published reports of cases in the king's bench under John Fitzgibbon. Duane devoted much of his time to antiquarian studies, especially numismatics. His coin collection was chiefly formed from the Oxford, Mead, Folkes, Webb, Torremozze, and Dutens cabinets. He sold his Syriac medals in 1776 to Dr. William Hunter, who presented them to Glasgow University. Dutens published in 1774 ‘Explication de quelques Médailles Phéniciennes du Cabinet de M. Duane.’ Duane employed F. Bartolozzi to engrave twenty-four plates of the coins of the Greek kings of Syria, a series which he specially collected. These plates were first published in 1803 in Gough's ‘Coins of the Seleucidæ.’ Bartolozzi was also employed to engrave coins of the kings of Macedonia (from Amyntas I to Alexander the Great) in Duane's collection. The plates were issued in a quarto volume without date. Duane discovered and purchased ten quarto volumes of the ‘Brunswick Papers,’ and placed them in the hands of Macpherson for the latter's ‘Original Papers concerning the Secret History of Great Britain,’ &c. 1775. Among his friends was Giles Hussey, the artist, many of whose works he possessed. Duane was a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries, and was a trustee of the British Museum, to which institution he presented minerals, antiquities, and miscellaneous objects in 1764–77. He died in Bedford Row, London, on 6 (mural monument) or 7 (Gent. Mag.) Feb. 1785, from a paralytic stroke. He was buried in the St. George's porch of St. Nicholas Church, Newcastle, and there is a monument to him on the south wall of the church. His coins and medals were sold by auction 3 May 1785, and a catalogue was printed. His library, together with that of his nephew and heir, Michael Bray, was sold in London in April 1838 by Leigh and Sotheby. Duane married Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Dawson. She died in 1799.

[Mural monument in St. Nicholas, Newcastle, erected by Duane's widow; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. of English Catholics, ii. 132; Butler's Hist. Memoirs of English Catholics (1822), iv. 460; Brand's Hist. of Newcastle, i. 290, 301; E. Mackenzie's Newcastle, i. 261, 262; Gent. Mag. 1785, vol. lv. pt. i. p. 157; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 280, iii. 37, 147, 497–9, 759, iv. 705, vi. 302, viii. 189, 692; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. viii. 458; Combe's Numm. vet. … in Mus. Gul. Hunter, pp. vii, viii; Michaelis's Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, § 65; General Guide to British Museum, 1886.]

W. W.