Leake, William Martin
LEAKE, WILLIAM MARTIN (1777-1860), antiquarian topographer, was born in London, January 14, 1777. After completing his education at the Royal Military Academy of Woolwich, and spending four years in the West Indies as lieutenant of marine artillery, he was sent by the Government to Constantinople to instruct the Turks in this branch of the service. A journey through Asia Minor in 1800 to join the English fleet at Cyprus inspired him with an interest in antiquarian topography, which he had afterwards frequent opportunities of gratifying. In 1801, after travelling across the desert to Egypt, he was, on the expulsion of the French, employed in surveying the valley of the Nile as far as the cataracts ; but having sailed with the ship engaged to convey the Elgin marbles from Athens to England, be lost all his maps and observations when the vessel foundered off the island of Cerigo. Shortly after his arrival in England he was appointed to survey the west coast of Albania and the Morea, with the view of assisting the Turks against attacks of the French from Italy, and of this he took advantage to form a valuable collection of coins and inscriptions, and to explore many ancient sites. In 1807 lie was made prisoner at Salonica; but, obtaining his release the same year, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Ali Pasha, whose confidence lie completely won, and with whom lie remained for more than a year as the representative of England. In 1815 lie retired from the army, in which lie held the rank of colonel, devoting the remainder of his life to topographical and antiquarian studies, the results of which were given to the world in the following volumes : - Topography of Athens, 1821 ; Journal of a Tour in Asia Minor, 1824 ; Travels in the Morea, 1830 ; Travels in Xorthern Greece, 1835 ; and Xuntismata Hellenica, 1854, followed by a supplement in 1859. A characteristic of the researches of Leake was their comprehensive minuteness, which was greatly aided by his mastery of technical details. His Topography of Athens, the first attempt at a scientific treatment of the subject, is still authoritative in regard to many important points. He died January 6, 1860.
A J'irelIZOir of Leake by the Per. J. H. Marsden was printed for private circulation in 1864. See also a paper in the Architect for October 7, 1876; and a notice of him by Professor Curtius of Perlin in the P•cussische Jahrbhchcr for September 1876.