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Howard Colvin

English architect and scholar. The son of Henry Aldrich, later auditor to James, Duke of York, he was educated at Westminster School, London, and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated as a BA in 1666 and an MA in 1669. He remained in Oxford for the rest of his life, becoming in ...

Article

Italian patron, collector and writer. The second son of a wealthy Venetian merchant, he was educated in Bologna, where he studied under the eminent scientists Eustachio Manfredi and the Zanotti brothers. Afterwards he travelled in the Veneto and developed a particular admiration for the works of Veronese, Guido Reni and Andrea Palladio. In Florence in ...

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Andrew McClellan

French administrator. His brief but distinguished military career led to the Dauphin Louis, son of Louis XV, by whose side he had served at the Battle of Fontenoy (1745), entrusting him with the education of the royal princes, including the Duc de Berry, the future Louis XVI. Flahaut’s many years of faithful service were rewarded with his appointment as Directeur-Général des Bâtiments du Roi after Louis XVI’s accession in ...

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Olivier Michel

French administrator and patron. He was the son of the Marquis de Montespan, whose wife, Françoise Athénais de Mortemart, became one of the mistresses of Louis XIV. During the prominence of her successor Mme de Maintenon, d’Antin pursued an undistinguished military career, and it was only after his mother’s death in ...

Article

Mercedes Agueda

Spanish diplomat, writer and patron . He studied at the University of Salamanca and entered the Ministerio de Estado at an early age. His political career included service in the Spanish Embassy in Rome as Agente de Preces from 1766, and he rose to be Ambassador there from ...

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Martin Postle

The son of a clergyman, Bate-Dudley (he added ‘Dudley’ to his name in 1784 in order to inherit a legacy) succeeded his father as rector of the parish of North Farmbridge, Essex; by his mid-twenties, however, he preferred to spend his time in London, where his ebullient behaviour earned him the nickname of ‘the fighting parson’. In ...

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David Rodgers

English patron, collector and writer. He was the only son of Alderman William Beckford, MP (1709–70). Orphaned at the age of nine, he inherited a fabulous fortune derived from his family’s Jamaican plantations. He was a precocious child, brought up in a puritanical atmosphere only relieved, after ...

Article

Edward Chaney

Irish bishop, philosopher, writer, collector, and traveller of English descent. He established the basis of his reputation as a philosopher while still a Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, with An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision (Dublin, 1709) and the Principles of Human Knowledge...

Article

As an abbé, he went to Paris, where he quickly became a favourite of the Marquise de Pompadour and was given a pension and lodgings at the Tuileries. At the age of 29 he became a member of the Académie Française, producing affected mythological poetry, which was mocked by Voltaire. From ...

Article

German theologian, diplomat, collector and historian. In 1693 he entered the Benedictine monastery at Göttweig, near Krems, where he was named Gottfried. He studied philosophy, law and theology in Salzburg and Vienna, obtaining his doctorate in those subjects in Vienna in 1696. In that same year he was expelled from the Benedictines because of differences with his fellow monks and accepted the chair of philosophy at Seeligenstadt, near Frankfurt am Main, where he met Lothar Franz von Schönborn, Elector-Archbishop of Mainz, who became a lifelong friend. In the Archbishop’s service he made many journeys, including three to Rome in ...