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Colefax [née Halsey], Sibyl Sophie Julia, Lady Colefax (1874–1950), hostess and interior decorator, was born on 4 December 1874, at The Poplars, Wimbledon Common, Surrey (the house of her uncle, Walter Bagehot). She was the third but only surviving daughter (and fifth and last child) of ...

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Matthew Darly (c. 1720–?1778) self-portrait, pubd 1771 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Darly, Matthias (c. 1720–1780), designer and printseller, is of obscure origins: nothing is known of his parents or his early life. In 1735 he was apprenticed to the clockmaker Umfraville Sampson, implying that he was probably born about 1720. In 1749 he was one of several printsellers rounded up by the government for questioning about several satirical prints which ridiculed the ...

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Innes, Jocasta Claire Traill (1934–2013), journalist, cookery writer, and interior design writer, was born on 21 May 1934 in Nanking (Nanjing), China, the eldest of four children of Paul Joseph Anthony Innes (1906–1977), a Shell Oil executive, and his wife, Alice Eileen, née...

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Owen Jones (1809–1874) by Henry Wyndham Phillips, 1856 RIBA Library Photographs Collection

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Jones, Owen (1809–1874), architect, printer, and designer, was born on 15 February 1809 at 148 Thames Street, London, the second of the three children of Owen Jones (1741–1814) and his wife, Hannah Jane (1772/3–1838). His father was a furrier and a distinguished Welsh antiquary. ...

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Mason, William (1725–1797), poet and garden designer, was born on 12 February 1725 at Holy Trinity Church vicarage, Vicar Lane, Kingston upon Hull, the only son of the Revd William Mason (1694–1753), incumbent of Holy Trinity from 1722 to 1753, and his first wife, ...

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William Mason (1725–1797) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1774 Pembroke College, Cambridge

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McLean, (John David) Ruari McDowall Hardie (1917–2006), typographer and author, was born on 10 June 1917 at Herouncroft, Minnigaff, Newton Stewart, Kirkcudbrightshire, the only child of John Thomson McLean, a customs and excise officer, whose own father had been a shoemaker from Stranraer...

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Meynell, Sir Francis Meredith Wilfrid (1891–1975), typographer and publisher, was born on 12 May 1891 at 47 Palace Court, Bayswater, London, the youngest of seven children (three sons and four daughters) of Wilfrid John Meynell (1852–1948), manager of the publishing firm Burns and Oates...

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William Morris (1834–1896) by George Frederic Watts, 1870 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Morris, William (1834–1896), designer, author, and visionary socialist, was born at Elm House, Walthamstow, on 24 March 1834, eldest surviving son and fourth of the ten children of William Morris (1797–1847), financier in the City of London, and his wife, Emma (1805–1894), daughter of ...

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Overs, John A. (1808–1844), author and cabinet-maker, was born in Birmingham, the eldest of the three sons of Richard Overs (1778–1851) and his wife, Elizabeth, née Mykins (or Meakins; d. c.1814). His father was descended from a staunchly Roman Catholic family of copyholders in the manor of ...

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See Pasquali, Nicolò [Niccolò]

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Pugin, Augustus Welby Northmore (1812–1852), architect, writer, and designer, was born on 1 March 1812 at 39 Keppel Street, Russell Square, London, the only child of Auguste Charles Pugin (1768/9–1832), architect, and Catherine Welby (c.1772–1833).

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Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812–1852) by John Rogers Herbert, 1845 RIBA Library Photographs Collection

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Lanning Roper (1912–1983) by Valerie Finnis © Valerie Finnis; collection Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Library

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Roper, Lanning (1912–1983), landscape gardener and journalist, was born on 4 February 1912 at West Orange, New Jersey, USA, the youngest of the three sons of Willet Crosby Roper (1877–1966), a banker, and his wife, Florence Emeline Eveleth (1874–1961). He had a happy and well-regulated childhood in ...

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Switzer, Stephen (bap. 1682, d. 1745), landscape designer and author, was baptized on 25 February 1682 at Micheldever and Stratton parish church, Hampshire, the second of two sons of Thomas Switzer (d. 1697), farmer, and his wife, Mary, née Hapgood (d...