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Gladys Marie Spencer- Churchill, duchess of Marlborough (1881–1977) by Sir Jacob Epstein, 1917 © Tate, London, 2004; photograph courtesy Sotheby's Picture Library, London

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Churchill, Gladys Marie Spencer- [née Gladys Marie Deacon], duchess of Marlborough (1881–1977), society beauty, was born on 7 February 1881 at the Hotel Brighton in Paris, the eldest of five children of Edward Parker Deacon of Boston (1844–1901) and his wife, Florence Mary (1859–1918)...

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Venetia Digby, Lady Digby (1600–1633) by Anthony Van Dyck, 1633 [detail] by permission of the Trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery

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Digby [née Stanley], Venetia, Lady Digby (1600–1633), gentlewoman and celebrated beauty, was born on 19 December 1600 at Tong Castle, Shropshire, the daughter of Sir Edward Stanley (d. 1629?), from a younger branch of the family of the earls of Derby...

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Long, Ann (1681?–1711), celebrated beauty, was born, probably in 1681, at Draycot Cerne, Wiltshire, the daughter of James Long (d. c.1690) and his wife, Susan, née Strangways. She was the granddaughter of Sir James Long, second baronet (1617–1692), the royalist soldier and politician, and of another leading civil war politician, ...

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Jane Myddelton (bap. 1646, d. 16921703) by Sir Peter Lely, c. 1663–5 The Royal Collection © 2004 HM Queen Elizabeth II

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Myddelton [née Needham], Jane (bap. 1646, d. 1692x1703), beauty, was baptized on 23 January 1646 at St Mary's, Lambeth, Surrey, the eldest daughter of Sir Robert Needham (d. 1661), and his second wife, Jane (1619–1666), daughter and heir of Sir William Cockayne...

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Lady Sarah Napier (1745–1826) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1762 Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection, 1922.4468 The Art Institute of Chicago. All rights reserved

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Napier [née Lennox; other married name Bunbury], Lady Sarah (1745–1826), noblewoman and society beauty, was born on 14 February 1745, the sixth of the seven surviving children of Charles Lennox, second duke of Richmond and Lennox (1701–1750), and Sarah (1706–1751), daughter of ...

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Palmer [née Ambrose], Eleanor, Lady Palmer (1718x20–1818), society beauty, was probably born at Ambrose Hall, co. Dublin, the second daughter and coheir of Michael Ambrose, a wealthy brewer of co. Dublin, and his wife, the daughter of Richard Archbold. Little is known of her early life. It was recorded that she was '...

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Julia Prinsep Stephen (1846–1895) by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1867 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Stephen [née Jackson], Julia Prinsep (1846–1895), celebrated beauty and philanthropist, the second wife of Leslie Stephen (1832–1904), was born on 7 February 1846, in Calcutta, India, the youngest of the three daughters of John Jackson MD (1804–1887) and his wife, Maria (1818–1892)...

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Streatfeild, Sophia (bap. 1755, d. 1835), beauty, was baptized on 9 May 1755 at St Anne's, Soho, London, the elder daughter of Henry Streatfeild (1706–1762), of Chiddingstone, Kent, and his wife, Anne Sidney (1732–1812), natural daughter of Jocelyne Sidney, seventh earl of Leicester...