KITTO, JOIIN (1804-1854), the author of various works connected with Biblical literature, was the son of a mason at Plymouth, where he was born December 4th, 1804. In childhood lie was weak and sickly, and he received only a very meagre school education ; but his untoward and miserable circumstances did not prevent the growth of a passionate love of books and an eager thirst for learning. By a fall sustained while assisting his father in his trade he received severe general injuries and Lost permanently the sense of hearing. No longer able to support himself by manual labour, he endeavoured to do so by preparing rude drawings and coloured cards in large capital letters, but at last in November 1819 he found it necessary to seek refuge in the workhouse, where he was employed in making list shoes. In 1821 he was bound apprentice to a shoemaker in Plymouth, who, however, treated him with such oppressive tyranny that he appealed to the magistrates, and got his indenture cancelled, upon which he again obtained admission to the workhouse. Not long afterwards a fund was-raised in his behalf, and in 1823 he was sent to board with the clerk of the guardians, having his time at his own disposal, and the privilege of making use of a public library. After preparing a small volume of miscellanies, which was published by subscription, he became a pupil of Mr Groves, a dentist in Exeter, and in this art rapidly acquired proficiency. Through the same gentleman he in 1825 obtained more congenial employment in the printing office of the Church Missionary Society at Islington, from which lie was after two years transferred to the same society's establishment at Malta. There he remained only six months, but shortly after his return to England he accompanied Mr Groves in the capacity of tutor to his two sons on a Christian mission to Baghdad, where he obtained that personal knowledge of Oriental life and habits which he afterwards applied with such tact and skill in the illustration of Biblical scenes and incidents. On account of the ravages of the plague the missionary establishment was broken up, and in 1832 Kitto returned to England. On arriving in London he was engaged in the preparation of various serial publications of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, the most important of which were the Pictorial history of Palestine and the Pictorial Bible. Henceforth his life was one of congenial but incessant literary labour. The Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, edited under his superintendence, appeared in two volumes, 1843-45, and has passed through three editions ; and his Daily Bible Illustrations (8 vols., 1819-53) still retain a wide popularity among general readers. On the morning after he had finished the last volume of this work Kitto was seized with a paralytic stroke, and from that time he was incapacitated for literary work. In 1850 Ile had received an annuity of £100 from the royal civil List; and on his illness an additional fund was raised on his behalf. In the autumn of 1854 he removed with his family to Cannstatt on the Neckar, where on the 25th November he was seized with an attack which in a few hours proved fatal.
See Dr Kitto's own work The Lost Senses, 1815; Ryland's Memoirs of Kitto, 1856 ; and Eadie's Life of Kitto, 1857.