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Acton, Sir Harold Mario Mitchell (1904–1994), aesthete and author, was born at his parents' magnificent villa at La Pietra, a mile north of Florence, on 5 July 1904, the son of Arthur Mario Acton (d. 1953) and his wife, Hortense Mitchell (...

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Sir Harold Mario Mitchell Acton (1904–1994) by John Ward, 1985 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Angerstein, John Julius (c. 1732–1823), insurance broker and connoisseur of art, was of Russian extraction, though his precise origins are obscure. According to family tradition he took his surname from the German doctor who delivered him, and his parents were the Empress Anne...

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John Julius Angerstein (c. 1732–1823) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1790–95 ? The National Gallery, London

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Asquith, Anthony (1902–1968), film director and aesthete, was born on 9 November 1902 in London, the youngest son of Herbert Henry Asquith, first earl of Oxford and Asquith (1852–1928), the Liberal statesman and future prime minister, and his second wife, Margaret Emma Alice (Margot) Asquith (1864–1945)...

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Anthony Asquith (1902–1968) by Howard Coster, 1935 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beit, Sir Otto John, first baronet (1865–1930), financier, philanthropist, and art connoisseur, was born on 7 December 1865 in Hamburg, Germany, twelve years after his brother Alfred Beit. He was the third son of Siegfried Beit (1818–1881), silk merchant, and his wife, Laura Caroline Hahn (...

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Sir Otto John Beit, first baronet (1865–1930) by H. Walter Barnett ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Andrew Caldwell (1733–1808) by Robert Woodburn, 1793 by courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland

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Caldwell, Andrew (1733–1808), barrister and connoisseur of architecture, was born on 19 December 1733, the eldest of the ten children of Charles Caldwell (1707–1776), solicitor to the commissioners of revenue in Ireland, and his wife, Elizabeth (1709–1792), daughter of Benjamin Heywood, merchant, of ...

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William George Spencer Cavendish, sixth duke of Devonshire (1790–1858) by Sir Edwin Landseer, exh. RA 1832 Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. By permission of the Duke of Devonshire and the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees

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Cavendish, William George Spencer, sixth duke of Devonshire (1790–1858), whig grandee and connoisseur of the arts, only son and youngest of three children of William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire (1748–1811), and Georgiana Cavendish (1757–1806), elder daughter of John Spencer, first Earl Spencer...

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Chaffers, William (1811–1892), authority on hallmarks and potters' marks, was born in Watling Street, London, on 28 September 1811, and was baptized on 25 October 1811 at St Antholin, Budge Row, London, the son of William Chaffers, and his wife, Sarah. He was educated at ...

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Chute, John (1701–1776), architect and connoisseur of the arts and literature, was born on 30 December 1701, the youngest in the family of five sons and five daughters of Edward Chute (1658–1722) of The Vyne, Sherborne, Hampshire, and his wife, Catherine, daughter of the lawyer ...

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Clarke, Louis Colville Gray (1881–1960), art connoisseur and museum director, was born in Croydon on 2 May 1881, tenth son and youngest of the fourteen children of Stephenson Clarke, coal factor, and his wife, Agnes Maria Bridger. He was schooled privately. He went up to ...

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Albert Denison, first Baron Londesborough (1805–1860) by Sir Francis Grant, 1851 unknown collection; photograph Sotheby's Picture Library, London / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Denison [formerly Conyngham], Albert, first Baron Londesborough (1805–1860), connoisseur of the arts and politician, was born Albert Conyngham at 8 Stanhope Street, Piccadilly, London, on 21 October 1805, the third son of Henry Conyngham, first Marquess Conyngham (1766–1832), and his wife, Elizabeth Conyngham (1769–1861)...

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Fermor, William, Baron Leominster (1648–1711), art connoisseur, was born on 3 August 1648 at Easton Neston, Northamptonshire, the second son of Sir William Fermor, first baronet (1621–1661), and Mary (d. 1670), daughter of Hugh Perry, sometime sheriff of London, and widow of ...

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Finch, Robert (1783–1830), antiquary and connoisseur of the arts, was born in London on 27 November 1783, the son of Thomas Finch (d. 1810), barrister of the Inner Temple and fellow of the Royal Society, and his wife, Mary (d. 1827)...

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Forbes, James Staats (1823–1904), railway administrator and art connoisseur, was born at Aberdeen on 7 March 1823, the eldest of the six children of James Staats Forbes, a member of a Scottish family long settled in England, and his wife, Ann Walker. A brother, ...