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W. C. Monkhouse

revised by Arianne Burnette

Aggas, Robert (c. 1620–c. 1682), landscape and scene painter, was the son of Samuel Agas of St Andrew's parish, Holborn. The family was originally from Stoke by Nayland in Suffolk. Samuel Agas was the son of Edward Aggas, a bookseller and printer, and relative of ...

Article

See Arne family

Article

Arthur, John (bap. 1708?, d. 1772), actor and designer of stage machinery, was most probably the son of Thomas and Mary Arthur who was baptized at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London, on 23 April 1708. In September 1730 he made an appearance at ...

Article

Asherson, Renée [real name Dorothy Renée Ascherson] (1915–2014), actress, was born on 19 May 1915 at 2 Cornwall Gardens, Kensington, London, the younger daughter of Charles Stephen Ascherson (1877–1945), a shipowner of German Jewish descent, and his second wife, ...

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

Article

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)...

Article

Bainbridge, Dame Beryl Margaret (1932–2010), actress, writer, and artist, was born on 21 November 1932 at 294 Menlove Avenue, Allerton, Liverpool, the younger child of Richard Bainbridge, commercial agent, and his wife, Winifred, née Baines. Her father was a self-made man who left school at ten, established himself successfully in business, but then went bankrupt as a result of the 1929 financial crash. His wife, who considered that her husband had married above himself, was disappointed and embittered by the family's reduced circumstances, and the young ...

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Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge (1932–2010) by Eamonn McCabe, 2002 © Eamonn McCabe

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Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton (1904–1980) by Dorothy Wilding, 1937 © Tom Hustler / National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Beaton, Sir Cecil Walter Hardy (1904–1980), photographer and designer for screen and theatre, was born at 21 Langland Gardens, Hampstead, London, on 14 January 1904, the eldest of the two sons and two daughters of Ernest Walter Hardy Beaton (1867–1936), timber merchant, and his wife, ...

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Wendy Mary Beckett (1930–2018), by Lou Boileau, 2006

© Lou Boileau

Article

Beckett, Wendy Mary (1930–2018), nun, art historian, and broadcaster, was born on 25 February 1930 in Johannesburg, South Africa, one of three children of Aubrey Cecil Beckett (1897–1961), a banker’s clerk of Irish origin, and his wife, Dorothy, née Sheehan. Through her father she was a distant cousin of the playwright ...

Article

Beningfield, Gordon George (1936–1998), wildlife and countryside artist, naturalist, and broadcaster, was born at his maternal grandmother’s house, 30 Neckinger, Bermondsey, London, on 31 October 1936, the elder son of George Robert Edward Beningfield (1907–1981), a Thames lighterman (and skilled amateur artist), and his wife ...

Article

Berger, John Peter (1926–2017), art critic, novelist, and film-maker, was born at 1 Filey Avenue, Clapton, London, on 5 November 1926, the elder son of Stanley Joseph Docking Berger (1893–1976), secretary of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants, and his wife ...

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John Berger (1926-2017), by Eamonn McCabe, 1999

Getty Images

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Maker: Sir Cecil Beaton

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

Article

Kingsley Amis

revised by M. Clare Loughlin-Chow

revised

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....

Article

W. J. Lawrence

revised by C. D. Watkinson

Beverly, William Roxby (1810?–1889), scene-painter, was born at Richmond, Surrey, probably in 1810, the youngest son of William Beverly or Beverley (1764/5–1842) and his wife, Mary (1775/6–1851). The elder Beverly, a well-known actor–manager, had abandoned his own surname of Roxby on taking to the boards, to distinguish himself from his uncle ...

Article

Biggar [married name Montlake], Helen Manson (1909–1953), sculptor, film-maker, theatre designer, and political activist, was born on 25 May 1909 at Dudley Drive, Hyndland, Glasgow, the eldest of three daughters of Hugh and Florence Biggar. She grew up in a socialist household, her father being a Christian socialist and founder member of the ...

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Helen Manson Biggar (1909–1953) by Benno Schotz, 1932 Christie's Images Ltd. (2004)