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Abney, Sir William de Wiveleslie (1843–1920), civil servant and photographic scientist, was born at Derby on 24 July 1843, the eldest son of Edward Henry Abney (bap. 1811, d. 1892), vicar of St Alkmund's, Derby, afterwards prebendary of Lichfield, and Catharina, daughter of ...

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Aglionby, William (1641–1705), diplomat and writer on art, was born in the summer of 1641, the second son of George Aglionby (d. 1643), who died shortly after being appointed dean of Canterbury by Charles I, and his wife, Sibilla Smith. George had previously been employed by the ...

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See Aslin, Charles Herbert

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Badeley, Henry John Fanshawe, Baron Badeley (1874–1951), civil servant and engraver, was born at Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, on 27 June 1874, the elder child and only son of Captain Henry Badeley (1842–1881), of Guy Harlings, Chelmsford, and his wife, Blanche (d...

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Barantyn, Drew (c. 1350–1415), goldsmith and mayor of London, was the younger son of Thomas Barantyn, lord of Chalgrove in Oxfordshire (he had an older brother, Thomas, who died in 1400). Barantyn's talents as a craftsman rather than his family connections were to be the key to his success in the world. He was apprenticed to ...

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See London Corresponding Society

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Beckett, Ronald Brymer (1891–1970), administrator in India and art historian, was born on 17 January 1891 in Micklefield Terrace, Rawdon, Yorkshire, the son of James Robertson Beckett (1855–1923), manager in a firm of silk and woollen merchants, and his wife, Annie Bertha Murray (1864–1952)...

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See Beit, Sir Otto John, first baronet

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Bennett, Sir Thomas Penberthy (1887–1980), architect and public servant, was born on 14 August 1887 at 39 Kensal Road, London, the elder child and only son of Thomas William Bennett (d. 1901), clerk for the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), and his wife, ...

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Benson, William (bap. 1682, d. 1754), politician, architect, and literary critic, was baptized on 17 March 1682 at St Leonard's Church, Bromley by Bow, Middlesex; he was the eldest of fourteen children of William Benson (1640/41–1712), a wealthy iron merchant of Bromley by Bow...

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Bernal, Ralph (d. 1854), politician and art collector, was of Jewish descent and came from a family of Spanish origin. He was the only son of Jacob Bernal (d. 1811) of 7 Fitzroy Square, London, was born at Colchester, Essex, and was educated at ...

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Bishop, Sir Frederick Arthur (1915–2005), civil servant and director-general of the National Trust, was born on 4 December 1915 at 118 Hampstead Road, Brislington, Bristol, the son of Alfred John Bishop, foreman for a wholesale stationers, later factory manager, and his wife, Mary Maria, ...

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Bossom, Alfred Charles, Baron Bossom (1881–1965), architect and politician, was born at 17 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, on 16 October 1881, the elder son of Alfred Henry Bossom (1854–1919), a stationer, and Amelia Jane (d. 1920), daughter of Edmund Henry Hammond of ...

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Boswell, James Edward Buchanan (1906–1971), painter and socialist, was born on 9 June 1906 in Westport, New Zealand. His father, Edward Blair Buchanan Boswell (1860–1933), who was born in Stewarton, Scotland, was deputy headmaster of the local high school, an artistic dilettante and amateur watercolourist; his mother, ...

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James Edward Buchanan Boswell (1906–1971) self-portrait, 1950 courtesy Estate of the Artist & John Gainsborough / Tate Gallery Archive

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Bowes, Sir Martin (1496/7–1566), goldsmith and mayor of London, was born in York in the parish of St Cuthbert, Peaseholme. Despite his disclaimer in 1549 that at the time of his going thirty-eight years previously to London at the age of fourteen (...

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Sir Martin Bowes (1496/77–1566) by unknown artist, 1562 unknown collection / Christie's; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brackenbury, Georgina Agnes (1865–1949), portrait painter and suffrage campaigner, was born at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, on 1 July 1865, the fifth of nine children of Charles Booth Brackenbury (1831–1890), an officer in the Royal Artillery who became director of the Artillery College, Woolwich...

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Georgina Agnes Brackenbury (1865–1949) self-portrait ? private collection

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Brittan, Leon, Baron Brittan of Spennithorne (1939–2015), politician, was born on 25 September 1939 at the City of London Maternity Hospital, 102 City Road, Finsbury, London, the second son of Joseph Brittan (1899–1972), medical practitioner, and his wife, Rebecca (Riva...