Boissard, John James

, a famous French antiquary, was born at Besangon, 1528, and published several collections, which tend to illustrate the Roman antiquities, on which he had bestowed great attention, having drawn plans of all the ancient monuments in Italy, and visited all the antiquities of the isles of Corfu, Cephalonia, and Zante. He went also to the Morea, and would have proceeded to Syria, had he not been prevented by a dangerous fever, which seized him at Methone. Upon his return to his own country, he was appointed tutor to the sons of Anthony de Vienne, baron de Clervaut, with whom he travelled into Germany and Italy. He had left at Montbeliard his antiquities, which he had been collecting with so much pains; and had the misfortune to lose them all when the people of Lorraine ravaged Franche Comte“. He had now none left except those which he had transported to Metz, where | he himself head retired; but as it was well known that he intended to publish a large collection of antiquities, there were sent to him from all parts many sketches and draughts of old monuments, by which means he was enabled to favour the public with his work, entitled,” De Romano? urbis topographia et antiquitate.“It consists of four volumes in folio, which are enriched with several prints, by Theodore de Bry and his sons, 1597 1602. He published also the lives of many famous persons, with their portraits, entitled,” Theatrum vitoe humanx,“divided into four parts, in 4to: the first printed at Francfort, 1597; the second and third in 1598; and the fourth in 1599. His treatise,” De divinatione et magicis praestigiis,“was not printed till after his death, which happened at Metz, Oct. 30, 1602. There have been two editions of it: one at Hainan in 1611, 4to; another at Oppenheim in 1625, folio. He wrote also a book of” Emblems,“with de Bry’s engravings, Francfort, 1595, 4to;Parnassus Biceps,“ibid, 1627, fol. a very rare book; and” Habitus variarum orbis gentium,“1581, fol. with plates. He published also some” Poemata, Epigramrnata, &c." 1574, 16mo; but these are not so much esteemed as his other performances. His adventure in a garden of cardinal Carpi at Rome, shews him a genuine antiquary. This garden was full of ancient marbles, and situated on the Mons Quirinalis. Boissard went thither one day with his friends, and immediately parted from them, let them return home, and concealed himself in some of the alleys. He employed the rest of the day in copying inscriptions and drawing the monuments; and as the garden gates were shut, he staid there all night. The next morning, the cardinal, finding him at this work, could not imagine how a stranger should get into his garden at an unseasonable hour; but when he knew the reason of Boissard’s staying there all night, he ordered him a good breakfast, and gave him leave to copy and draw whatsoever he should think curious in his palace.1


MoreriDict. Hist.—Gen. Dict.—Baillet Jugemens de Savans.—Saxii Onomasticon.