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Hannah Snell (1723–1792) by John Faber junior, 1750 (after Richard Phelps) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Snell, Hannah [alias James Gray] (1723–1792), sexual impostor, was born on 23 April 1723 in Friar Street, St Helen's, Worcester, the eighth of nine children of Samuel Snell, a hosier, and his wife, Mary Williams. Robert Walker's biography of Snell's life, first published in 1750, provides a clue to what might have shaped ...

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Mary Anne Talbot [John Taylor] (1778–1808) by G. Scott, pubd 1804 (after James Green) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Talbot, Mary Anne [alias John Taylor] (1778–1808), sailor and soldier, was born on 2 February 1778 at 62 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, the youngest of her mother's sixteen children. Mary Anne was purportedly the illegitimate daughter of William Talbot, the first earl of Talbot...