Finch, Robert

Biography: Cleric, tutor, antiquary and connoisseur of the arts. Born London, Nov 1783. Attended St Paul's School, 1794-8, and was then privately tutored until he matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford. B.A., 1805, M.A., 1809. Ordained deacon 1807, but did not proceed to priest's orders. Served curacies, principally in Maidstone, until his father's death, which allowed him to take on pupils. Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, 1809. Travelled to Portugal, 1813, and from 1814 lived on the continent. Assumed the title of lieutenant-colonel around 1815, allegedly for administrative convenience in crossing borders, and this was frequently challenged. Became friendly with Mary Shelley in Rome, 1819 - he delighted in knowing prominent people. Extended patronage and hospitality to English artists in Rome. Funds from his parents' property allowed him to amass a small collection of art, but many were optimistically attributed to major artists by Finch. Died Rome, Sept 1830. His library is divided between the Taylor Institution and the Bodleian Library, Oxford, which also holds his journals, correspondence and collections on classical subjects.

Biography Date: 1783-1830

Biography References: LOC; DNB;


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