Aubrey Beauclerk, 5th Duke of St Albans

Aubrey Beauclerk (center) (Franciszek Smuglevicz)

Aubrey Beauclerk, 5th Duke of St Albans (3 June 1740 9 February 1802) was a British landowner, and a collector of antiquities and works of art.[1]


Thomas Gainsborough: Portrait of Lady Catherine Ponsonby

Aubrey Beauclerk was born in 1740, the son of Admiral Vere Beauclerk, 1st Baron Vere and a grandson of Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St Albans.

On 4 May 1763 Beauclerk married Lady Catherine Ponsonby (14 October 1742 4 September 1789), daughter of William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough. They had seven children:

From 1761 to 1768 he served as Member of Parliament for Thetford; from 1768 to 1774 he was Member for Aldborough.

In 1778 Beauclerk and his wife went to Rome, following rumors in the press concerning Catherine Beauclerk's relationship with Thomas Brand (junior). Brand accompanied the Beauclerks to Rome, abandoning his own wife and children.

In 1779 Beauclerk financed an excavation with Thomas Jenkins at Centocelle, which produced several ancient sculptures. To celebrate this successful excavation Beauclerk commissioned Franciszek Smuglewicz to paint a portrait of him and his family at the site (the painting is now at Cheltenham Art Gallery). Some of the sculptures were sold to Giovanni Battista Visconti for the Museo Pio-Clementino at the Vatican in Rome, and others to the British collector, Henry Blundell; many were displayed at Beauclerk's house at Hanworth by 1783. While in Italy Beauclerk also bought several paintings.

On the death of his father in 1781 Beauclerk became the 2nd Baron Vere, and in 1787, on the death of his cousin, he became the 5th Duke of St Albans.

Beauclerk disposed of his collection of antiquities at sales in 1798 and 1801 - which did not deter him from being a major purchaser in 1801 at sales of his father-in-law's collections.

He died in 1802, and is buried in St George's Church, Hanworth.[2]


  1. I. Bignamini, Digging And Dealing In Eighteenth-Century Rome (2010), p.236-237
  2. "St George's Church - History". St George's Church, Hanworth. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Lord Henry Beauclerk
Herbert Westfaling
Member of Parliament for Thetford
With: Henry Seymour Conway
Succeeded by
Henry Seymour Conway
John Drummond
Preceded by
Nathaniel Cholmley
Viscount Villiers
Member of Parliament for Aldborough
With: Andrew Wilkinson 1768–1772
Earl of Lincoln 1772–1774
Succeeded by
Charles Wilkinson
Abel Smith
Peerage of England
Preceded by
George Beauclerk
Duke of St Albans
Succeeded by
Aubrey Beauclerk
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Vere Beauclerk
Baron Vere
Succeeded by
Aubrey Beauclerk
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