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Henry Spencer Ashbee (1834–1900) by H. T. Reed, 1889 private collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ashbee, Henry Spencer [pseud. Pisanus Fraxi] (1834–1900), book collector and bibliographer, was born on 21 April 1834 at 24 Blackfriars Road, Southwark, London, the only child of Robert Ashbee (1804–1867), manager of the Curtis and Harvey gunpowder mills, and his wife, Frances Elizabeth, ...

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Ashley, Robert (1565–1641), translator and book collector, was born on 2 July 1565, second son of Anthony Ashley, of Damerham, Wiltshire, and Dorothy Lyte; he was the brother of Sir Anthony Ashley and Sir Francis Ashley. At an early age he acquired fluent French under ...

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Askew, Anthony (bap. 1722, d. 1774), physician and book collector, was born in Kendal, Westmorland, where he was baptized on 7 May 1722, the son of Adam Askew, physician, and his wife, Anne Crackenthorp. In 1725 his family moved to Newcastle, where his father established a well-respected practice. ...

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Astle, Thomas (1735–1803), archivist and collector of books and manuscripts, was born on 22 December 1735 at Yoxall, on the edge of Needwood Forest, Staffordshire, the eldest son of Daniel Astle (d. 1775), keeper of the forest, who was of a family long established at ...

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Thomas Astle (1735–1803) by William Skelton, pubd 1803 (after Henry Howard) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Topham Beauclerk (1739–1780) by Samuel Bellin (after George Perfect Harding?) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beauclerk, Topham (1739–1780), book collector, was born on 21 December 1739, the only son of Lord Sidney Beauclerk (1703–1744), member of parliament, privy councillor, and vice-chamberlain of the royal household, and his wife, Mary (d. 1766), daughter of Thomas Norris of Speke Hall, Lancashire...

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Bell, Thomas (1785–1860), land surveyor and book collector, was born on 16 December 1785 in Newcastle upon Tyne, the second son of John Bell (1755–1816), a land surveyor and bookseller, and his wife, Margaret, the daughter of John Gray, of Combfield House, co. Durham...

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Marc Vaulbert de Chantilly

Bindley, James (1739–1818), book collector, was born in London on 5 January 1739, the second son of John Bindley (d. 1761), a prosperous distiller, and his wife, Alice, née Odell (fl. 1727–1760), of Finchley. The family residence was in St John Street, Smithfield...

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Bliss, Philip (1787–1857), antiquary and book collector, was the elder son of Philip Bliss (d. 1803), rector of Dodington and Frampton Cotterell, near Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, where Bliss was born on 21 December 1787. His mother was Anne, daughter of Thomas Michell...

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Philip Bliss (1787–1857) by J. Bridges courtesy of the Provost and Fellows of Oriel College, Oxford; photograph © Studio Edmark

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W. P. Courtney

revised by Hugh Mooney

Bolland, Sir William (1771/2–1840), lawyer and book collector, was the eldest son of James Bolland of Southwark. He was educated under Dr Valpy at Reading School where he wrote several prologues and epilogues for the school's annual dramatic performances. He then went to ...

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Boothby, Sir William, first baronet (bap. 1637, d. 1707), book collector, was baptized on 9 November 1637 at Broadlow Ashe, the son of the landowner and royalist Henry Boothby (d. 1648), of Clater Close, Oxfordshire, who was nominated first baronet during the civil war in 1644 but whose patent never passed the great seal, and his wife, ...

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Bracebridge [Brasbrigg], John (fl. c. 1420), priest and book collector, was a priest at the Bridgettine abbey of Syon, at Isleworth in Middlesex. He may be identifiable with the John Bracebrigge who was headmaster of Boston School from 1390, and of Lincoln School...

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Thomas Britton (1644–1714) by John Wollaston, 1703 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Britton, Thomas (1644–1714), concert promoter, book collector, and coal merchant, was born on 14 January 1644 at Rushden near Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire. He migrated to London where he apprenticed himself to a ‘small-coal’ (slack-coal, or charcoal) merchant near St John the Baptist's Street...

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Charles Burney (1757–1817) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1802 private collection

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Burney, Charles (1757–1817), schoolmaster and book collector, was born on 4 December 1757 in King's Lynn, the fifth surviving child and second surviving son of Dr Charles Burney (1726–1814), music historian, and his first wife, Esther Sleepe (1723–1762). His siblings included the writers ...

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See Spencer, George, fourth duke of Marlborough