Lethieullier, Smart (DNB00)

LETHIEULLIER, SMART (1701–1760), antiquary, born 3 Nov. 1701, was the second son of John Lethieullier of Aldersbrook Manor House, Little Ilford, Essex, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Joseph Smart, knt., of Havering. His grandfather, Sir John Lethieullier, knt. (d. 1718), was sheriff of London in 1674, and had purchased the Aldersbrook estate. The family was originally of Brabant. Smart Lethieullier entered as a gentleman-commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, 19 Feb. 1719–20, and graduated M.A. 11 July 1723 (Cat. Oxf. Grad.) He devoted himself chiefly to antiquities, and formed collections and made drawings while travelling in France, Italy, Germany, and all parts of England. On his father's death, 1 Jan. 1736–7, he succeeded to Aldersbrook, and in the grounds, which he improved, built a small ‘hermitage’ for his collections. The manor-house and the hermitage were pulled down by Sir J. T. Long, who purchased the property a few years after Lethieullier's death (Walford, Greater London, i. 502). Lethieullier's collections consisted of manuscripts, books, ‘medals’ (coins?), drawings, and ancient marbles. In Rome he had had dealings with the antiquary Ficoroni (Michaelis, Anc. Marbles in Great Brit. § 36). Among the drawings were a folio volume of ‘finely painted’ drawings of ancient marbles (Gent. Mag. 1760, p. 443), and drawings by Lethieullier himself of Saxon and English antiquities (ib.; Nichols, Lit. An. v. 439); many of these, together with others by Vertue and Sir Charles Frederick, came into Horace Walpole's possession (ib. i. 695, vi. 287). Lethieullier also formed a collection of English fossils, which at the time of his death was contained in ‘two large cabinets,’ and which is described by Peter Collinson [q. v.] (Gent. Mag. 1760, p. 443) as a ‘great collection, which excells most others.’ Lethieullier made an illustrated manuscript catalogue of the rarer specimens. Lethieullier was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (elected in or before 1750), a fellow of the Royal Society, and a member of the Spalding Society (elected 16 Aug. 1733). He was the friend of many learned men. He corresponded on antiquities with Francis Wise of Oxford and with Dr. Ducarel. Some of his letters are printed in Nichols's ‘Lit. Illustr.’ iii. 632–45. Dr. Mead, Martin Folkes, and Samuel Gale were among his acquaintances. He contributed several papers to vols. i. and ii. of the ‘Archæologia,’ furnished an account of Ambresbury Banks, and of Roman antiquities found at Leyton, Essex, for Gough's ‘Camden,’ vol. ii. (Walford, Greater London, i. 417, 418, 484), and wrote a description of the Bayeux tapestry (Ducarel, Anglo-Norman Antiquities, &c., 1767; cp. Nichols, Lit. An. iv. 704). He died at Aldersbrook on 27 Aug. 1760, and was buried in Little Ilford Church. A monument to him is on the north side of the nave (ib. v. 370). His library was sold by auction in 1760 (ib. v. 371). Nichols (ib. v. 368) describes him as ‘an excellent scholar’ and ‘a polite gentleman.’ Lethieullier married, on 5 Feb. 1725–6, Margaret (d. 19 June 1753), daughter of William Sloper of Woodhay, Berkshire. They had no children.

Lethieullier was succeeded at Aldersbrook and in the manor of Birch Hall at Theydon Bois, and in other estates that he had purchased (Morant, Essex, i. 1, 4, 5, 27, 28, 163), by Mary, only daughter of his next brother, Charles Lethieullier (1718–1759), fellow of All Souls' College, D.C.L., F.S.A., counsellor-at-law (Lit. An. iii. 630, v. 372; Foster, Alumni Oxon.)

In the British Museum are various antiquities presented by members of the Lethieullier family. In 1756 Colonel William Lethieullier, F.S.A., a cousin of Smart's, who had travelled in Egypt, bequeathed a collection of English and Egyptian antiquities, including a mummy. In 1756–60 Smart Lethieullier and Pitt, son of Colonel William Lethieullier, presented Egyptian mummies, coffins, fragments of statues, bronzes, manuscripts, &c. (Brit. Mus. Guide to Exhib. Galleries, ‘List of Benefactors;’ Nichols, Lit. An. v. 372).

[Morant's Essex, i. 27–8, &c.; various ref. in Nichols's Lit. Illust. and in Lit. Anecd., especially v. 368–72; Gent. Mag. 1760, pp. 394, 443; authorities cited.]

W. W.