John Gideon Loten

On a window ledge in the north aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey is a memorial to John Gideon Loten, Governor of Batavia (Jakarta) who died in 1789. Sculpted in 1793 by Thomas Banks it shows a figure of Generosity, attended by a lion, placing a medallion portrait of Loten on a column. The first part of the inscription is in Latin and can be translated:

Sacred to the memory of the most famous and excellent man, John Gideon Loten, Governor of Batavia in the East Indies, sometime Minister both in the Island of Celebes and Ceylon, distinguished by the highest office. Fellow of the Royal Society of London and of the Society of Antiquaries. In serving his country through public works he was a distinguished citizen of the highest rank. In his private affairs all things were carried out with the utmost care and diligence and by these principles he lived: genuine faith, surpassing calmness of spirit, temperate pleasing manners, and deep but wide learning. He went to India in 1732; and married on 24 August 1733 Anna Henrietta Beaumont, who died on the 10 August 1755. He came back to Europe in the year 1758 and married in England secondly on the 4 July 1765 Laetitia Cotes of Cotes in the county of Stafford. He died in Utrecht on the Rhine on 25 February 1789, aged 80.

Below in English, taken from Psalm 15:

Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle: or who shall rest upon thy holy hill. Even he that leadeth an incorrupt life: and doeth the thing which is right, and speaketh the truth from his heart. He that setteth not by himself, but is lowly in his own eyes, and maketh much of them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth unto his neighbour, and disappointeth him not: though it were to his own hinderance, he that hath not given his money upon usury: nor taken reward against the innocent. Such was John Gideon Loten!

Painted coats of arms on the west (or left) side of the memorial represent the families of Schade van Westrom, Hoeuft, Aerssen van Júchen and Deutz. Those on the east side are for Selyns, Strick van Linschoten, Deuverden and Loten himself (a gold shield with a bulb or root on it from which shoots two sprigs of a flower).

Loten was born on 16th May 1710 at Maartensdijk in Holland and spent his later life in Fulham, west London. His nature sketches and some self-portraits are in the Natural History Museum collection. He died in Utrecht and was buried there in the family vault of Jacobi Church. His brother Arnout was mayor of that city.

Further reading

A copy of Loten's will can be purchased via The National Archives


25th February 1789



Memorial Type


John Gideon Loten
John Gideon Loten memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster