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Margaret Cavendish Bentinck [Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley], duchess of Portland (1715–1785) by Joseph Brown, pubd 1861 (after Christian Friedrich Zincke, 1738) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bentinck, Margaret Cavendish [née Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley], duchess of Portland (1715–1785), collector of art and natural history specimens and patron of arts and sciences, was born on 11 February 1715 in London, the only surviving child of Edward Harley, later second earl of Oxford...

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Blewitt, (John) Octavian (1810–1884), writer and literary administrator, was born on 3 October 1810 at St Helen's Place, Bishopsgate, London, the son of John Edwards Blewitt (d. 1860), merchant, and Caroline, daughter of Peter Symons, mayor of Plymouth. Much of his childhood was spent in ...

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See Blount, Martha

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Blount, William, fourth Baron Mountjoy (c. 1478–1534), courtier and literary patron, was born in the parish of Barton Blount, Derbyshire. His father, John Blount, third Baron Mountjoy [see under Blount, Walter, first Baron Mountjoy], died in 1485 and William succeeded to the title as a minor. His uncle ...

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Bodenham [Bodnam], John (c. 1559–1610), literary patron and grocer, was born in London, perhaps in the parish of St Stephen Walbrook. He was the eldest son in a family of five children of William Bodnam (d. 1580), grocer, and his wife, Katherine Wanton (...

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Boys [née Illey], Sibylle, Lady Boys (b. c. 1370, d. in or after 1455), literary patron, was the daughter and heir of Sir Robert Illey of Plumstead Parva in Norfolk (d. c.1398) and his wife, Katherine Gymyngham (d. 1417)...

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Burdett [née Francis], Jane, Lady Burdett (d. 1637), literary patron, was the only daughter and heir of William Francis of Foremark, near Repton, Derbyshire, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of William Francis of Ticknall. Details of her early life are unknown. In 1602 she married ...

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See Calvert, Charles

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Carey [Carew], Elizabeth, Lady Hunsdon [née Elizabeth Spencer; other married name Elizabeth Eure, Lady Eure] (1552–1618), literary patron, was born on 29 June 1552 at Althorp, Northamptonshire, the sixth child of thirteen born to Sir John Spencer (d. 1586), of Wormleighton...

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Elizabeth Christiana Cavendish, duchess of Devonshire (1757–1824) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1787 Chatsworth House. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Cavendish [née Hervey; other married name Foster], Elizabeth Christiana, duchess of Devonshire (1757–1824), society hostess and patron of the arts, was the middle daughter of Frederick Augustus Hervey, fourth earl of Bristol (1730–1803), and his wife, Elizabeth Davers (1730–1800), and was known for most her life as ...

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William Cavendish, first duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (bap. 1593, d. 1676) by Abraham van Diepenbeck [with Bolsover Castle in the background] © Copyright The British Museum

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Cavendish, William, first duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (bap. 1593, d. 1676), writer, patron, and royalist army officer, was born at Handsworth Manor, Yorkshire, and was baptized in the parish on 16 December 1593. He was the second of three children, the first having died in infancy, of ...

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Spencer Joshua Alwyne Compton, second marquess of Northampton (1790–1851) by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, 1844 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Compton, Spencer Joshua Alwyne, second marquess of Northampton (1790–1851), patron of science and the arts, was born on 2 January 1790 at Erlestoke Park, Wiltshire, the second son of Charles Compton, ninth earl and first marquess of Northampton, and Mary, only daughter of ...

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Cunningham, James, thirteenth earl of Glencairn (1749–1791), literary patron, was born on 1 June 1749 at Finlaystone, the second son of William Cunningham, twelfth earl of Glencairn, and the eldest daughter of Hugh McGuire, a violinist from Ayr. Through the death of his elder brother in 1768 he succeeded to the earldom on his father's death in 1775. He served as a captain in the ...

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Douglas, Catherine [Kitty], duchess of Queensberry and Dover (1701–1777), literary patron, was the second daughter of Henry Hyde, second earl of Rochester, later fourth earl of Clarendon (1672–1754), son of Laurence Hyde, first earl, and his wife, Jane Hyde (c. 1672–1725), daughter of ...

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See Sterne, Laurence

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Elliot, Sir Gilbert, of Minto, third baronet (1722–1777), politician and literary patron, was born at Minto, Roxburghshire, in September 1722, the eldest son of the judge Sir Gilbert Elliot, second baronet and Lord Minto (bap. 1693, d. 1766), and Helen (bap. 1696, ...