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The guest papers, Add.Mss.57934-57941

Robert A. H. Smith


MONTAGUE JOHN GUEST (1839-1909), Liberal M.P. for Youghal 1869-74, id for Wareham 1880-5, presented his papers to the British Museum in 1906; they were transferred to the Department of Manuscripts from the Department of Prints and Drawings in 1973. Guest was the third son of Sir Josiah John Guest, Bart., of Dowlais, the ironmaster, and Lady Charlotte Guest (later Schreiber), the Welsh scholar and celebrated collector of china, fans, and playing-cards. J.J. Guest was a dissenting industrialist who married into the aristocracy, obtained a baronetcy and a seat in Parliament, and became accepted by Whig Society. His eldest son, Ivor, succeeded in 1852 to the baronetcy, to Canford Hall in Dorset and estates in Dorset and Wales; in the 1880s he possessed over 17,000 acres in Dorset alone;' in 1868 he married the eldest daughter of the Duke of Marlborough; another brother, Merthyr, married the youngest daughter of the Marquess of Westminster, and Guest was to number among his brothers-in-law the future eighth Earl of Bessborough and A.H. Layard the archaeologist, diplomat, and Radical M.P. Guest therefore possessed wealth, status, and good connections; he had the means to pursue a number of interests, to become a keen yachtsman and fisherman, and a frequent visitor to country estates in the shooting season; he became a shooting companion of the Prince of Wales; he was also 'an enthusiastic and discreet collector of Georgian and other engravings and antiques'; furniture, porcelain, and the works of Rowlandson also aroused his interest, and he presented his collection of badges, tokens, and passes to the British Museum in 1907.

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