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John Christian

(b Leicester, 1797; d Oxford, Oct 29, 1872).

English publisher and patron. He was one of the earliest patrons of the Pre-Raphaelites, and his bequest of their works to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, is notable among collections formed in the 19th century in that it remains largely intact. (Unless otherwise stated, all works mentioned are in the Ashmolean.) In 1838 Combe became Superintendent of the Clarendon Press at Oxford University, a post he held until his death. Under his management, the Press, hitherto run at a loss, became a source of revenue; Combe’s own substantial share in the profitable business of printing Bibles and prayer books enabled him to acquire a considerable personal fortune. He was a genial, hospitable man of strong religious convictions, a friend and ardent supporter of the Tractarians; John Henry Newman officiated at his marriage in 1840. Combe and his wife Martha (1806–93) were active in many forms of charitable work, and Combe, who edited ...