Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/31

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Brown
Brown
25

hill enraged ran hastily forward, exclaiming, ‘Good God! what have you done?’ ‘I have only saved your life,’ was the reply. Brown was also assistant to Verrio and La Guerre, and then setting up for himself was employed to decorate several of the city churches, He painted the altar-piece in St. Andrew Undershaft, the ‘Transfiguration’ in St. Botolph, Aldgate, the figures of St. Andrew and St. John in St. Andrew's, Holborn, and those of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist in the chapel of St. John, Bedford Row. He also painted some portraits. Brown was the master of Hayman, and died 26 Dec. 1753. A few of his works have been engraved in mezzotinto: ‘The Annunciation,’ by Valentine Green; ‘Salvator Mundi’ (two plates), by James McArdell; ‘Our Saviour and St. John the Baptist,’ by Richard Earlom; and ‘Geography,’ by J. Faber.

[Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists, 878]

L. F.

BROWN, Sir ROBERT (d. 1760), diplomatist, is said when a young man to have gone out to Venice with no other capital than a large second-hand wig which he sold for 5l. At Venice he amassed a fortune by successful trading, and for some years held the office of British resident in the republic. He received a baronetcy from George II in 1782. Writing to the Earl of Essex, then ambassador at Turin, in May 1734, he says that he is about to be returned to parliament, that he is glad to say that his election will entail little expense or trouble on him, thong; he does not know for what place he will put up. Two letters from him, and several from Colonel Niel Brown, the consul, who was probably his kinsman, are in the British Museum. Some of these letters contain references to Turkish affairs, and to the progress of the Polish succession war. Brown came back to England, and was returned as one of the members for Ilchester 30 Aug. 1731, retaining his seat during that parliament and the succeeding one summoned in 1741. From 1741 to 1743 he held the office of paymaster of the king’s works. He married Margaret Cecil, granddaughter of the third Earl of Salisbury, and sister of Charles, bishop first of Bangor and then of Bristol, a lady of wit and fashion. ‘Lady Brown,’ Burney tells us, ‘gave the first private concerts under the direction of the Count of Germain; she held them on Sunday evenings, at the risk of her windows. She was an enemy of Handel and a patroness of the Italian style.’ Horace Walpole records a bitter retort she made on Lady Townshend (Menoires of George II, ii. 358), and sneers at her ‘Sunday nights,’ as ‘the great mart for all travelling and travelled calves’ (Letters, i. 229). By her Brown had two, or, according to Wa1pole, three daughters, who died before him. It was with reference to these daughters that the avarice for which he was notorious appears to have chiefly displayed itself. When the eldest, who at the age of eighteen fell into a decline, was ordered to ride for the benefit of her health, he made the servant who attended her carry a map he drew out marking all the by-lanes, so as to avoid the turnpikes; and when she was dying, he bargained with the undertaker about her funeral, on the principle apparently of a Wager, for he is said to have urged the man to name a low sum by representing that she might recover. These stories rest on the authority of H. Walpole. If they are not literally true, they at least serve to show Brown's character. He died on 5 Oct. 1760, leaving everything, even, Walpole believes, his avarice, to his widow. Lady Brown died in 1782.

[Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27732-5 (correspondence of Lord Essex), 23797 (Correspondence of Thomas Rohinson, first, baron Grantham); Burney's History of Music, iv. 671, ed. 1789; Walpole’s Memoirs of George II, 4to, 1822; Walpole‘s Letters, i. 187, 229, ii. 398, 450, iii. 351, iv. 70, viii. 176, ix. 221 (ed. Cunningham); Collins’s Baronetage, iv. 235; Bethams Baronetage, iii. 219; Return of Members of Parliament, ii. 78, 90.]

W. H.

BROWN, ROBERT (1757–1831), agricultural writer, born in East Linton, Haddingtonshire, entered into business in his native Village, but soon turned to agriculture, which he carried on first at West Fortune and afterwards at Markle, where he practised several important experiments. He was an intimate friend of George Rennie of Phantassie. While Rennie applied himself to the practice of agriculture, Brown Wrote on the science. He published a ‘View of the Agriculture of the West Riding of Yorkshire,' 8vo, 1799, and a ‘Treatise on Rural Affairs,’ 2 vols. 8vo, 1811, and wrote many articles in the Edinburgh ‘Turner’s Magazine,’ of which he was editor for fifteen years. Some of these articles have been translated into French and German. He died at Drylaw, East Lothian, on 14 Feb. 1831, in his seventy-fourth year.

[Anderson's Scottish Nation, i. 395; Irving's Eminent Scotsmen, 41; Gent. Mag. 1831, vol. ci. pt. ii. p. 647.]

W. H.

BROWN, ROBERT (1773–1858), botanist, was born in Montrose on 21 Dec. 1773, his father, the Rev. James Brown, being the episcopalian minister in that town,