Colt was a Huguenot, born in Arras apparently as Maximilian Poultrain, who settled in England in the closing years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He lived in London, in Bartholomew Close (Smithfield). When King James I came to the English Throne, Colt was commissioned to produce an extravagant monument to the memory of the Queen. This was followed by smaller monuments to James' infant daughters, the Princesses Mary and Sophia. All three can be seen in Westminster Abbey. On 28 July 1608, he was appointed the King's Master Carver. He was later employed decorating several Royal barges in 1621. The carvings were painted by John de Critz and detailed in his bill.
Colt also produced fine sepulchral monuments for many of the English nobility and gentry, for example Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury at Bishop’s Hatfield in Hertfordshire, whose adjoining house he also decorated, and the Countess of Derby at Harefield in Middlesex. For Scottish patrons, he designed the tomb of Viscount Stormont at Scone Palace and George Home at Dunbar. He was not the architect of Wadham College, Oxford, as is sometimes stated (this was Sir Thomas Holt of York).
- Lee 1887.
- Devon, Frederick, ed., Issues of the Exchequer in the Reign of James I, London (1836), p.276, 289
- Pearson, Fiona ed., Virtue and Vision, Sculpture and Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland (1991), 28.
- Lee, Sidney (1887). "Colt, Maximilian". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 407–408.
- Esdaile, K.A. (1946). English Church Monuments 1510-1840. Batsford.
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