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Balfour [née Lytton], Elizabeth Edith [Betty], countess of Balfour (1867–1942), social hostess and biographer, was born on 12 June 1867 at Hyde Park Gate, London, the eldest of the five surviving children of Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, first earl of Lytton (1831–1891), viceroy, diplomat, and poet, and his wife, ...

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Boscawen [née Glanville], Frances Evelyn [Fanny] (1719–1805), letter writer and literary hostess, was born at St Clere, near Wrotham in Kent, on 23 July 1719, only child of William Evelyn, MP and high sheriff of Kent, and his wife, Frances Glanville (1696/7–1719)...

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Mary Boyle, countess of Cork and Orrery (1746–1840) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, c. 1777–8 © Tate, London, 2004

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Boyle [née Monckton], Mary [Maria], countess of Cork and Orrery (1746–1840), literary hostess, was born on 21 May 1746, the youngest child and only surviving daughter of John Monckton, first Viscount Galway (1695–1751) and his second wife, Jane (d. 1788), fourth daughter of ...

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Brookfield [née Elton], Jane Octavia (1821–1896), literary hostess and writer, was born on 25 March 1821, at Clifton, near Bristol, the youngest of the eight daughters (there were also five sons) of Sir Charles Abraham Elton, sixth baronet (1778–1853), of Clevedon Court...

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See Bunsen, Christian Karl Josias von, Baron von Bunsen in the Prussian nobility

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Mary Constance Charteris, countess of Wemyss (1862–1937) by Sir Edward John Poynter, 1886 in a private Scottish collection; photograph courtesy the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Charteris [née Wyndham], Mary Constance, countess of Wemyss (1862–1937), hostess, was born on 3 August 1862 at 44 Belgrave Square, London, the eldest of the five children of the Hon. Percy Wyndham (1835–1911), second son of the first Lord Leconfield, and his wife, ...

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Colefax [née Halsey], Sibyl Sophie Julia, Lady Colefax (1874–1950), hostess and interior decorator, was born on 4 December 1874, at The Poplars, Wimbledon Common, Surrey (the house of her uncle, Walter Bagehot). She was the third but only surviving daughter (and fifth and last child) of ...

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Gibson [née Cullum], (Susannah) Arethusa (1814–1885), society hostess and political activist, was born on 11 January 1814 at Southgate Green, Bury St Edmunds, the only child of Revd Sir Thomas Gery Cullum, eighth baronet (1777–1855), and his first wife, Mary Anne, née...

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Hollond [née Teed], Ellen Julia (1822–1884), salon hostess, philanthropist, and author, was born at Madras on 28 September 1822, only child of the lawyer Thomas Teed (1797–1843) and his Scottish wife, Julia Jane Jordan (1800–1866), afterwards Lushington. Sent to England at an early age, she was later joined by her parents, who in 1835 bought ...

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Hunt, (Isabel) Violet (1862–1942), author and literary hostess, was born on 28 September 1862 at 29 Old Elvet, Durham, the eldest of the three daughters of Alfred William Hunt (1829–1896), landscape watercolourist, and Margaret Raine Hunt (1831–1912), novelist and translator. She was tutored at home and in 1877 graduated from ...

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Mary Elizabeth Mohl (1793–1883) self-portrait, 1831 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mohl [née Clarke], Mary Elizabeth (1793–1883), salon hostess and author, was born on 22 February 1793 in Millbank Row, Westminster, London, youngest child of an Anglo-Irish builder, Charles Clarke (d. 1809), and his Scottish wife, Elizabeth Hay (d. 1846). A brother died in infancy; a sister, ...

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Elizabeth Montagu (1718–1800) by Allan Ramsay, 1762 private collection; photograph © National Galleries of Scotland

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Montagu [née Robinson], Elizabeth (1718–1800), author and literary hostess, was born at York on 2 October 1718, the first daughter and fifth child of Matthew Robinson (1694–1778) of Edgeley and West Layton, Yorkshire, and his wife, Elizabeth (c.1697–1746), daughter of ...

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Sands, Ethel (1873–1962), painter and hostess, was born at Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on 6 July 1873, the eldest of the three children of Mahlon Day Sands (1842–1888) and his second wife, Mary Morton Hartpence (1853–1896), whom he had married in 1872. The success of his father's business as a manufacturer of patent medicines had allowed ...

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See Stone, (Alan) Reynolds

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Elizabeth Vesey (c. 1715–1791) by unknown artist, c. 1770 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barbara Brandon Schnorrenberg

Vesey, Elizabeth (c. 1715–1791), literary hostess, was probably born in Ireland. She was the second daughter of Sir Thomas Vesey, bt, bishop of Ossory (1672/3–1730), and his wife, Mary (d. 1746), daughter and heir of Denny Muschamp of Horsley, Surrey. The Veseys...