Gore Ouseley

Sir Gore Ouseley, Bt

Sir Gore Ouseley with two distinguished orders
Born (1770-06-24)24 June 1770
Died 18 November 1844(1844-11-18) (aged 74)[1]
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
Occupation Trader, diplomat and linguist
Spouse(s) Harriet Georgina Whitelocke
Children Two sons, three daughters, inc. Frederick Ouseley
Parent(s) Captain Ralph Ouseley[2]

Sir Gore Ouseley, 1st Baronet GCH (24 June 1770 – 18 November 1844), was a British entrepreneur, linguist and diplomat. He was born in 1770 and died at Hall Barn Park, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire in 1844. He negotiated an important treaty between Russia and Persia in 1813 which redrew their common borders.

Early life

Sir Gore Ouseley was born in Limerick[3] in Ireland to Ralph and Elizabeth (born Holland) Ouseley. Gore's father's family was originally from Shropshire. Gore and his brother were tutored at home in the company of brother, William and his cousin, Gideon Ouseley. All three had notable careers.[4]


Whilst serving the British Government and posted in Lucknow he became a friend of the local Nawab Saadat Ali Khan[5] and was responsible for building a palace called Dilkusha Kothi on the banks of the Gomti near Lucknow. This palace stood for about fifty years until it was damaged in the Siege of Lucknow. The palace was a copy of the English Baroque stately home of Seaton Delaval Hall. He made his name in India where he was appointed a Major-Commander. He was made a baronet in 1808 with the recommendation of Lord Wellesley.


The English delegation at the Court of Fath Ali Shah in 1808: John Malcolm, Harford Jones and Gore Ouseley.

He served as ambassador to Persia from 1810 where he was involved with negotiating treaties principally with Persia and Russia. He was accompanied by his brother as secretary, Sir William Ouseley,[2] who like Gore was a keen orientalist. (He was the first ambassador to Persia since Sir Dodmore Cotton was sent by Charles I).[6] Nominally he was supporting the Shah of Persia (Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar). The most important was The Treaty of Gulistan: Гюлистанский договор; Persian: عهدنامه گلستان) which was prepared by the ambassador with the help of the British Foreign Office. The treaty confirmed the inclusion of modern-day Azerbaijan, Daghestan and Eastern Georgia into the Russian Empire. This was agreed on 24 October 1813. Ouseley may have visited Persepolis during his stay in Persia, as a group of reliefs from the site collected by him were donated to the British Museum in 1825.[7]

Banyan leaves and fruit – A watercolour from the collection of Gore Ouseley – now at Kew Gardens.[8]


After his brother returned to England in 1813 to write, he left the next year, stopping off in St Petersburg. Whilst he was in Russia, he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Russian Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. He was also responsible for publishing an early translation of the New Testament into Persian. The translation had been made by a friend, the Reverend Henry Martyn, and Mirza Saiyad Ali Kahn. Martyn had died on his way back to England so Gore Ouseley had agreed to arrange publication of the manuscript. This he did in St Petersburg, carrying out the proof reading personally. This version was later refined and republished in Calcutta.[9]


On his return to England in 1815, Ouseley was not made a peer as he had expected (and despite a recommendation).

Ouseley had taught himself Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian, and for enjoyment, he and his brother William advanced the study of Persia. William published a number of books,[2] but those by Gore were not published until after his death.

In 1833, the family were living at Hall Barns, and he enjoyed gardening and building work as he had done in India.[10] In 1835, he served as the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire.

He became President of the Society for the Publication of the Oriental Texts in 1842 and he is credited with the society's publication of Gulistan of Sa'di by Sa'di, which had a translation by Francis Gladwin.[6]

There is a monument to his memory in Hertingfordbury Church, Hertfordshire and his collection of Mughal paintings are at the Bodleian Library in Oxford (they were donated in 1859 by a Bengal civil servant, Mr JB Elliott).[11]

His son, The Revd Canon Professor Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (12 August 1825 – 6 April 1889) was an English composer, organist, and musicologist.



Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gore Ouseley.


  1. Gore-Ouseley at Iranica.com accessed 12 September 2007
  2. 1 2 3 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica – entry for Sir William Ouseley
  3. Some sources say Monmouthshire
  4. R. W. Ferrier, 'Ouseley, Sir Gore, first baronet (1770–1844)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 10 Nov 2011
  5. nic.in accessed 10 September 2007
  6. 1 2 Western Encounters with Persian Sufi Literature by Farhang Jahanpour accessed 12 September 2007
  7. British Museum Collection
  8. Banyan leaves and fruit – bio of watercolour, Kew Gardens accessed 12 September 2007
  9. ILAB online catalogue accessed 12 September 2007
  10. JC Loudon's Gardener's Magazine December 1833
  11. MappingAsia accessed 12 September 2007
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Harford Jones
British Ambassador to Persia
Succeeded by
James Morier
(ad interim)
Honorary titles
Preceded by
George Simon Harcourt
High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire
Succeeded by
Thomas Tyrwhitt-Drake
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Claremont)
Succeeded by
Frederick Ouseley
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 3/29/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.