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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Abrams, Harriett (c. 1758–1821), singer and composer, was, according to her niece's husband, Thomas Adolphus Trollope, the daughter of a man who came to England 'in the suite of some Hanoverian minister, in what capacity I never heard' (Trollope, 151). She was described by ...

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See Abrams, Harriett

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See Alcock, John

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Ayrton, Edmund (1734–1808), composer and musician, was born on 21 October 1734 at Ripon, Yorkshire, the third of the four surviving children of Edward Ayrton (1698–1774), alderman and later mayor and magistrate of the borough of Ripon, and his wife, Catherine (1701?–1781), daughter of ...

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Baddeley [née Snow], Sophia (1745?–1786), actress and singer, was born, according to her friend and biographer Elizabeth Steele, in the parish of St Margaret, Westminster, in 1745, the daughter of the trumpeter Valentine Snow (d. 1770). Her baptism is not recorded in the register of ...

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Sophia Baddeley (1745?–1786) by Johan Zoffany [as Fanny Sterling, with Robert Baddeley (right) as Canton and Thomas King (centre) as Lord Ogleby, in The Clandestine Marriage by George Coleman the elder and David Garrick] Garrick Club; the art archive

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Dame Isobel Baillie (1895–1983) by Lafayette, 1931 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Baillie, Dame Isobel [real name Isabella Douglas Baillie] (1895–1983), singer, was born on 9 March 1895 at 2 Princes Street, Wilton, in the border town of Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland, the youngest in a family of a son and three daughters of Martin Pott Baillie...

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Elizabeth Bannister (1757–1849) by John Russell, 1799 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bannister [née Harper], Elizabeth (1757–1849), actress and singer, was, according to the encomium in the Thespian Magazine (1793), the daughter of a Mrs Harpur, 'now a mantua-maker [dressmaker] at Bath', who, having made a marriage disapproved of by her family, educated her daughter perforce 'to her business' (...

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Barnes, Frederick Jester (1885–1938), singer, was born on 31 May 1885 at 219 Great Lister Street, Saltley, Birmingham, the only child of Thomas William Barnes (1860/61–1913), butcher, and his wife, Mary Alice Jester (d. 1899/1900). The family moved across to 214 Great Lister Street...

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Frederick Jester Barnes (1885–1938) by Dobson Studios, c. 1920 V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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J. A. F. Maitland

revised by John Rosselli

Bartleman, James (1769–1821), singer, born on 19 September 1769, was trained as a chorister at Westminster Abbey under Benjamin Cooke. He distinguished himself and became a great favourite both with his master and with Sir John Hawkins, whose daughter praised him for his sweetness of character and keen sense of humour; she also reported his persistent frail health, perhaps due to tuberculosis (...

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W. B. Squire

revised by K. D. Reynolds

Bellamy, Richard (bap. 1743?, d. 1813), singer, was probably the son of Richard and Susannah Bellamy, baptized at Billinghay, Lincoln, on 12 June 1743. He was appointed a gentleman of the Chapel Royal on 28 March 1771 and a lay vicar of Westminster Abbey...

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W. B. Squire

revised by Anne Pimlott Baker

Bellamy, Thomas Ludford (1771–1843), singer, was born on 15 September 1771 in St John's parish, Westminster, the son of Richard Bellamy (bap. 1743?, d. 1813), singer, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ludford (d. 1776). He learned singing and music from his father and trained under ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Berry, Edward (1706/7–1760), actor and singer, made his first recorded appearance on the London stage at Drury Lane on 6 February 1729 as Hobinol in Charles Johnson's The Village Opera. For five seasons Berry was employed as a singing actor, primarily in the new genre of ballad opera. Unsuited by his large, heavy build and low-pitched voice for romantic leads, he played character roles such as Squire Clodpole in ...

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Bevin, Elway (c. 1554–1638), composer and musician, was probably born in Wells, Somerset, though his family may have been Welsh; the claim for his Welsh origins is made by Anthony Wood (Bodl. Oxf., MS Wood D.19(4)). Nor is it known when or where ...

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Billington [née Weichsel], Elizabeth (1765–1818), singer, was born in Litchfield Street, Soho, London, on 27 December 1765, the first of the three children of Carl Friedrich Weichsel (1728–1811) and his wife, Fredericka Weirman (d. 1786). Weichsel, a native of Freiburg, Saxony...

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Elizabeth Billington (1765–1818) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1789 Gift of Lord Beaverbrook, The Beaverbrook Art Gallery

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Bing, Stephen (bap. 1610, d. 1681), singer and music copyist, was born in Canterbury and baptized on 20 September 1610 in the parish of St George the Martyr, the only son and second of five children of Stephen Bing (d. 1632?), probably a beer-brewer, and his wife, probably ...