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Aylesbury, Sir Thomas, baronet (1579/80–1658), patron of mathematics, was born probably in early 1580, possibly in London, where some of his siblings were later baptized at St Andrew's, Holborn. He was the second son among at least eight children of William Aylesbury (...

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Sir Joseph Banks, baronet (1743–1820) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1771–3 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Banks, Sir Joseph, baronet (1743–1820), naturalist and patron of science, was born on 13 February 1743 at 30 Argyll Street, London, the first child and only son of William Banks (1719–1761), gentleman, of Revesby Abbey, Lincolnshire, previously named William Banks Hodgkinson, of Overton, Derbyshire...

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Bentinck, Margaret Cavendish [née Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley], duchess of Portland (1715–1785), collector of art and natural history specimens and patron of arts and sciences, was born on 11 February 1715 in London, the only surviving child of Edward Harley, later second earl of Oxford...

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Margaret Cavendish Bentinck [Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley], duchess of Portland (1715–1785) by Joseph Brown, pubd 1861 (after Christian Friedrich Zincke, 1738) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bouverie, Jacob [formerly Jacob Des Bouverie], first Viscount Folkestone (bap. 1694, d. 1761), patron of science and philanthropist, was baptized at St Katharine Cree church, London, on 14 October 1694, the second son of Sir William Des Bouverie, first baronet (1656–1717), and his second wife, ...

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Brouncker, William, second Viscount Brouncker of Lyons (1620–1684), mathematician and first president of the Royal Society of London, was born at Newcastle Lyons, co. Dublin in 1620, probably in April, the eldest son of Sir William Brouncker (1585–1645), gentleman of the privy chamber to ...

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William Brouncker, second Viscount Brouncker of Lyons (1620–1684) by Sir Peter Lely, c. 1674 © Royal Society

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Brühl, John Maurice [Hans Moritz], Count von Brühl (1736–1809), diplomatist and patron of science, was born on 20 December 1736 at Wiederau, north-west of Dresden, the son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Count von Brühl (1699–1760), of Martinskirche, in Saxony. His younger brother Heinrich was the well-known ...

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William Cavendish, first duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (bap. 1593, d. 1676) by Abraham van Diepenbeck [with Bolsover Castle in the background] © Copyright The British Museum