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Sir Otto John Beit, first baronet (1865–1930) by H. Walter Barnett © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beit, Sir Otto John, first baronet (1865–1930), financier, philanthropist, and art connoisseur, was born on 7 December 1865 in Hamburg, Germany, twelve years after his brother Alfred Beit. He was the third son of Siegfried Beit (1818–1881), silk merchant, and his wife, Laura Caroline Hahn (...

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Cook, Ernest Edward (1865–1955), art collector and preservationist, was born at Camberwell, London, on 4 September 1865, the second of the three sons of John Mason Cook (1834–1899), travel agent [see under Cook, Thomas], and Emma, daughter of Thomas William Hodges...

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Richard Fitzwilliam, seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745–1816) by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1764 Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK; photograph Bridgeman Art Library

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Fitzwilliam, Richard, seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745–1816), benefactor and musical antiquary, was born on 1 August 1745 at Richmond, Surrey, the eldest son of Richard Fitzwilliam, sixth Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (d. 1776), and Catherine (c.1710–1786), eldest daughter and coheir of the Dutch-born merchant and political economist ...

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William Hesketh Lever, first Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925) by William Strang, 1918 University of Liverpool Art Gallery and Collections

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Lever, William Hesketh, first Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925), soap manufacturer and philanthropist, was born on 19 September 1851, at 16 Wood Street, Bolton, seventh child and elder son of James Lever (1809–1897), wholesale and retail grocer, and his wife, Eliza, daughter of William Hesketh...

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Manton, Sir Edwin Alfred Grenville (1909–2005), insurance underwriter, art collector, and philanthropist, was born on 22 January 1909 at Burrows Road, Earls Colne, Essex, the eldest of three children of John Horace Manton, bank clerk, later bank manager, and his wife, Emily Clara, ...

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Paul Mellon (1907–1999) by John Ward, 1980s? © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mellon, Paul (1907–1999), philanthropist and art collector, was born on 11 June 1907 at 5052 Forbes Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, the only son and second of the two children of Andrew William Mellon (1855–1937), banker and statesman, and his wife, Nora (1879–1973), daughter of Mr and Mrs ...

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Thomas Gambier Parry (1816–1888) by Margaret Sarah Carpenter, 1833–5 in the collection of T. Fenton

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Parry, Thomas Gambier (1816–1888), benefactor and art collector, was born on 22 February 1816 in Cadogan Place, Belgravia, London, the only child of Richard Parry (1776–1817) and Mary Gambier (d. 1821), daughter of Samuel Gambier and niece of James, Admiral Lord Gambier...

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Slade, Felix (1788–1868), art collector and benefactor, was born on 6 August 1788 at Lambeth (and baptized Felix Joseph at St Mary's, Lambeth, on 30 August 1788), the fourth and youngest son of Robert Slade (d. 1835), proctor in Doctors' Commons and deputy lieutenant for ...

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James Lewis Smithson (1764–1829) by Henri-Joseph Johns, 1816 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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Smithson [formerly Macie], James Lewis (1764–1829), mineralogist and benefactor, was born Jacques Louis Macie in Paris in early 1764, the illegitimate son of a long-term liaison between Hugh Percy (formerly Smithson), second earl and later first duke of Northumberland (bap. 1712, d. 1786)...

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Stuart, John Crichton-, sixth marquess of Bute (1933–1993), benefactor and patron of the arts, was born at 10 Charles Street, Mayfair, London, at 9.50 a.m. on 27 February 1933, fifteen minutes before his twin brother, David; they were the two eldest among the four children of ...

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John Patrick Crichton- Stuart, third marquess of Bute (1847–1900) by Thomas Rodger [in the robes of rector of St Andrews University] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Stuart, John Patrick Crichton-, third marquess of Bute (1847–1900), civic benefactor and patron of architecture, was born at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland, on 12 September 1847. He was the only child of John Crichton-Stuart, second marquess (1793–1848), and his second wife, ...

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Sir Henry Tate, first baronet (1819–1899) by Sir Hubert von Herkomer, 1897 © Tate, London, 2004

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Tate, Sir Henry, first baronet (1819–1899), sugar refiner and benefactor, was born at Chorley in Lancashire on 11 March 1819, the eleventh child of the Revd William Tate (1773–1836), and his wife, Agnes, daughter of Nathaniel Booth of Gildestone, Yorkshire. Tate's parents had twelve children in all, four having died before ...