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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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Alison, Archibald (1757–1839), Scottish Episcopal clergyman and writer on aesthetics, was born in Edinburgh, the son of Archibald Alison (1730–1794), lord provost of the city, originally of Newhall, Coupar Angus, and Margaret Harte (d. 1811), of Listerick, near Edinburgh. Alison was educated at ...

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Archibald Alison (1757–1839) by William Walker, pubd 1823 (after Sir Henry Raeburn) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Amherst [formerly Tyssen-Amherst], Alicia Margaret [married name Alicia Margaret Cecil, Lady Rockley] (1865–1941), garden historian, was born on 30 July 1865 at Didlington Hall, Didlington, near Mundford, Norfolk, fifth of the seven children (all daughters) of William Amhurst Tyssen-Amherst (1835–1909), landowner, and his wife, ...

Article

Samuel Morrison

revised by Andrew Saint

Aslin, Charles Herbert (1893–1959), architect, was born at 34 Burnell Road, Owlerton, Ecclesfield, Yorkshire, on 15 December 1893, the younger of two sons of Arthur William Aslin and his wife, Louisa Annie Outram. His parents were originally from Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, but by the time of ...

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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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William Austin (1721/17331733–1820) by James Godby, pubd 1809 (after Edmund Scott) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Austin, William (1721/1733–1820), drawing-master and engraver, was apprenticed to George Bickham junior in 1747. This suggests that he was born about 1733, although he was said to have died aged ninety-eight, and a man named Austin was listed as an eminent painter in 1748. In 1756 ...

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Bagenal, (Philip) Hope Edward (1888–1979), architectural theorist and acoustician, was born on 11 February 1888 at 9 Mount Street, Dublin, the second of five children of Philip Henry Bagenal (1850–1927), civil servant and journalist, and his wife, Harriot Jocelyn Hore (1851/2–1942). He was always known by his second name, ...

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Balch, Herbert Ernest (1869–1958), cave explorer and museum curator, was born in St Thomas Street, Wells, Somerset, on 4 November 1869, the second of six children of William Balch, brushmaker, and his wife, Sarah Ellen, née Smith. Aged seven, he won a scholarship to ...

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Herbert Ernest Balch (1869–1958) by Harry Savory, 1912 Wells and Mendip Museum

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Baxter [née Barnes], Lucy [pseud. Leader Scott] (1837–1902), writer on art, was born at Dorchester on 21 January 1837, the third daughter of William Barnes (1801–1886), the Dorset poet and philologist, and his wife, Julia, née Miles (1805–1852). Her childhood seems to have been a happy one, despite the family's straitened finances and her mother's death in 1852. ...

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Beale, (Sarah) Sophia (1837–1920), writer on art and painter, was born on 5 November 1837 in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, the daughter of Lionel John Beale (1796–1871), surgeon, and Frances Smith, née Sheppard (1800–1849). She was the sister of Lionel Smith Beale (1828–1906)...

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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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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

Article

Kingsley Amis

revised by M. Clare Loughlin-Chow

Betjeman, Sir John (1906–1984), poet, writer, and broadcaster, was born on 28 August 1906 at 52 Parliament Hill Mansions, north London, the only child of Ernest Edward Betjemann (1872–1934), a furniture manufacturer, and his wife, Mabel Bessie Dawson (1879–1952). The family name, of Dutch or German origin, can be traced back to an immigration in the late eighteenth century. The poet adopted his style of it about the age of twenty-one....

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Sir John Betjeman (1906–1984) by Sir Cecil Beaton, 1955 © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby's

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Bilson, John (1856–1943), architect and architectural historian, was born on 23 September 1856 at Crown Street, Newark, Nottinghamshire, the eldest son of John Bilson (1828/9–1892), maltings clerk, and his wife, Eliza Ann, née Mayston (1827–1910). He was educated at Wesley College, Sheffield, and was placed fifth nationally in the honours division for matriculation for the ...