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Sir Robert Adair (1763–1855) by Thomas Gainsborough, mid-1780s The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Jacob Epstein Collection, BMA 1951.109

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W. P. Courtney

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

Adair, Sir Robert (1763–1855), politician and diplomatist, was the son of Robert Adair, sergeant-surgeon to George III, and Lady Caroline Keppel. He was born on 24 May 1763, and was sent to Westminster School in 1773, and thence to the University of Göttingen...

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Anstruther, Sir Robert (1578–1644/5?), diplomat and politician, was the second son of Sir James Anstruther (d. 1606), fiar of Anstruther, and Jean Scott of Abbotshall. His birth in Anstruther Wester, Fife, was recorded by his father on 23 April 1578. A graduate of ...

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Charles Arbuthnot (1767–1850) by Spiridione Gambardella, 1849 V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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Arbuthnot, Charles (1767–1850), diplomatist and politician, was born on 14 March 1767, the third son of John Arbuthnot (1729–1797), merchant, of Ravensbury near Mitcham, Surrey, and his third wife, Anne (d. 1782), daughter of Richard Stone, a London banker. The father's enterprise failed early in his son's life but in 1782 he was appointed inspector-general of the ...

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Hans Willem Bentinck, first earl of Portland (1649–1709) studio of Hyacinthe Rigaud [original, 1698–9] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bentinck, Hans Willem [William], first earl of Portland (1649–1709), diplomat and politician, was born on 20 July 1649 ns at Diepenheim in the eastern Netherlands, the fifth of nine children of Berent Bentinck (1597–1668), lord of Diepenheim and drost (sheriff) of Deventer, and his wife, ...

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Blaker, Peter Allan Renshaw, Baron Blaker (1922–2009), diplomatist and politician, was born in Hong Kong on 4 October 1922, one of two sons of Cedric Blaker (1889–1965), company director, and his New Zealand-born wife, Louisa Douglas, née Chapple (1891–1985). His father had begun his business life as a ...

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Bowring, Sir John (1792–1872), politician, diplomatist, and writer, was born on 17 October 1792 at Larkbeare (also known as Great Larkbeare), Holloway Street, Exeter, Devon, the eldest son and second of the nine children of Charles Bowring (1769–1856), a wool merchant, and his wife, ...

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Sir John Bowring (1792–1872) by John King, 1826 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brennan, Robert (1881–1964), Irish republican and diplomatist, was born in John's Gate Street, Wexford, on 22 July 1881, one of five children of Robert Brennan, a victualler and cattle dealer, and his wife, Bridget, née Kearney, shopkeeper. After completing local schooling by the ...

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Sir Robert Brown, first baronet (d. 1760) attrib. Jonathan Richardson the elder, 1730s The Marquess of Salisbury. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Brown, Sir Robert, first baronet (d. 1760), politician and diplomatist, was the first son of William Brown, a London merchant, and his wife, Grisel Brice. As a young man he is said to have gone out to Venice with no other capital than a large second-hand wig, which he sold for ...

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Campbell, Gordon Thomas Calthrop, Baron Campbell of Croy (1921–2005), diplomatist and politician, was born on 8 June 1921 in Quetta, India, one of two sons of Major-General James Alexander Campbell (1886–1964), army officer, and his wife, Violet Constance Madeline, née Calthrop (d...

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Chetwynd, William Richard, third Viscount Chetwynd (1685?–1770), politician and diplomatist, was the third son of John Chetwynd of Ridge in Staffordshire, MP for Stafford in 1689, 1700, and 1702, and for Tamworth in 1698–1700, and his wife, Lucy, the daughter of Robert Roans...

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Cheyne, Sir John (d. 1414), diplomat, heretic, and speaker-elect of the House of Commons, of unknown parentage, was a scion of the family of Cheyne of Drayton Beauchamp, Buckinghamshire. Almost certainly a younger son, he was probably intended for a career in the church. ...

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(Alfred) Duff Cooper, first Viscount Norwich (1890–1954) by Man Ray, 1930s © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP, Paris, and DACS, London, 2010; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cooper, (Alfred) Duff, first Viscount Norwich (1890–1954), diplomatist and politician, was born at 9 Henrietta Street, Cavendish Square, London, on 22 February 1890. His father, Sir Alfred Cooper (1838–1908), was a fashionable London surgeon who specialized in the sexual problems of the upper classes and was celebrated for his skill, discretion, and conviviality. ...

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Francis Cottington, first Baron Cottington (1579?–1652) by unknown artist, 1634? © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cottington, Francis, first Baron Cottington (1579?–1652), diplomat and politician, was baptized at Pitcombe, Somerset, the third son of Philip Cottington (d. in or after 1611) of Godminster, near Pitcombe, and his wife, Jane, daughter of Thomas Biflete, also of Somerset. The ...