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Boris Vasilyevich Anrep, Count Elmpt in the nobility of the Holy Roman empire (1883–1969) by Pierre Roy, 1949 [Boris Anrep in his Studio, 65 boulevard Arago] © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London, 2010; photograph Tate, London, 2004

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Anrep, Boris Vasilyevich, Count Elmpt in the nobility of the Holy Roman empire (1883–1969), mosaicist, came of a noble Russian family. He was born on 28 September 1883 in St Petersburg, the son of Vasily Konstantinovich von Anrep (1852–1927), a doctor who became the minister of education for ...

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Sir Naum Gabo (1890?–1977) by Nina and Graham Williams [at Carbis Bay studio] © Nina Williams; Tate Gallery Archive

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Gabo, Sir Naum [formerly Neyemiya Borisovich Pevzner] (1890?–1977), sculptor, was born on 5 August, probably in 1890 and also probably in Klimovichi, Mogilev, in provincial south-west Russia (now in Belorussia), the seventh of the eight children of Boris Grigoryevich Pevzner...

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Herzen, Alexander [Aleksandr Ivanovich Gertsen] (1812–1870), radical publicist, was born at what is now 25 Tverskoy bulvar, Moscow, on 25 March 1812 os (6 April 1812 ns), the illegitimate son of the rich nobleman Ivan Alekseyevich Yakovlev (1767–1846) and his young German consort, ...

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Daniel Dunglas Home (1833–1886) by Maull & Co. Mary Evans / Society for Psychical Research

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Home, Daniel Dunglas (1833–1886), medium, was born at Currie, near Edinburgh, on 20 March 1833, the third son of William Home (c.1810–1882), a labourer, and his wife, Elizabeth, née McNeil (c.1810–1850), and was raised as a Presbyterian. He seems to have added his middle name later because of his belief that his father was the illegitimate son of the ...

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Peter Kropotkin (1842–1921) by Nadar, after 1871 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Kropotkin, Peter [Pyotr Alekseievich] (1842–1921), anarchist and scientist, was born on 27 November 1842 os at 26 Shtatny pereulok in Moscow, the son of Prince Aleksey Petrovich Kropotkin (1805–1871), an army officer who came from an old aristocratic family, and Yekaterina Nikolayevna Sulima...

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Felix Vadimovich Volkhovsky (1846–1914) by unknown photographer © reserved

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Volkhovsky, Felix Vadimovich (1846–1914), revolutionary and man of letters, was born into a family of impoverished gentry in Poltava, eastern Ukraine, on 6 July 1846 os, the son of Vadim Volkhovsky and his wife, Yekaterina. After spending his early childhood there and in ...