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Abrahams, Ivor (1935–2015), painter, printmaker, and art teacher, was born on 10 January 1935 at 10 Swinley Road, Wigan, Lancashire, the only son and elder child of Hyman (Harry) Abrahams, ladies’ outfitter, and his wife, Rachel (née Kalisky, later Kay). At the time of his birth registration the family lived at ...

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Abse, Daniel [Dannie] (1923–2014), physician, poet, and author, was born on 22 September 1923 at 161 Whitchurch Road, Gabalfa, Cardiff, the youngest of four children of Rudolf Abse (1887–1964), cinema proprietor, and his wife, Kate, née Shepherd (1890–1981...

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Sir Harold Mario Mitchell Acton (1904–1994) by John Ward, 1985 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Acton, Sir Harold Mario Mitchell (1904–1994), aesthete and author, was born at his parents' magnificent villa at La Pietra, a mile north of Florence, on 5 July 1904, the son of Arthur Mario Acton (d. 1953) and his wife, Hortense Mitchell (...

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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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Aldred, Cyril (1914–1991), Egyptologist and art historian, was born on 19 February 1914 at 41 Beltran Road, Fulham, London, the sixth of the seven children of Frederick Aldred (1876–1957), a postman and post office sorter, and his wife, Lilian Ethel Underwood...

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Richard Garnett

revised by Heather M. MacLennan

Alexander, William (1767–1816), artist and museum curator, was born at Maidstone, Kent, on 10 April 1767, one of the three sons and one daughter of Harry Alexander, a coachbuilder. A pencil and watercolour sketch by Alexander of the street where he was born is in ...

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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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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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Thomas Seccombe

revised by Mark Pottle

Anderson, William (1842–1900), anatomist and writer on art, was born on 18 December 1842 in London at the Eldon Arms, Queen Square, the son of William Henry Anderson, licensed victualler, and his wife, Ann, formerly Cattel. After attending the City of London School...

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John Julius Angerstein (c. 1732–1823) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1790–95 © The National Gallery, London

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Angerstein, John Julius (c. 1732–1823), insurance broker and connoisseur of art, was of Russian extraction, though his precise origins are obscure. According to family tradition he took his surname from the German doctor who delivered him, and his parents were the Empress Anne...

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Anthony Blunt

revised by Rosemary Mitchell

Antal, Frederick (1887–1954), art historian, was born in Budapest on 21 December 1887, the only child of Alajos Antal MD and his wife, Sofia Gerstl. He first studied at the university of his native city, where he graduated as a doctor of law, but later he went to ...

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Armstrong, Sir Walter (1849–1918), museum director and art historian, was born at Hawick, Roxburghshire, on 7 February 1849, the elder of the two sons and three daughters of Walter Armstrong, a merchant described as 'a man of handsome fortune' (Spielmann...

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Ashmole, Bernard (1894–1988), archaeologist and art historian, was born on 22 June 1894 in Ilford, Essex, the youngest in a family of two sons and three daughters of William Ashmole, auctioneer and estate agent, and his wife, Sarah Caroline Wharton, née Tiver. Both parents had strong literary and religious interests. He was educated at ...

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

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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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Atkinson, Frank (1924–2014), museum founder and director, was born on 13 April 1924 at Pindar Oaks Maternity Home, Barnsley, the son of Ernest Atkinson (b. 1885), plumber and cycle dealer, and his wife, Elfrida, née Bedford (b. 1891), schoolteacher. At the time of his birth registration his parents lived at ...

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