Brummell, Beau


Brummell, Beau
orig. George Bryan

born June 7, 1778, London, Eng.
died March 30, 1840, Caen, France

English dandy.

The son of Lord North's private secretary, he attended Oxford and became famous for his dress and wit as well as for his friendship with George, prince of Wales (later King George IV). The leader of English fashion of his time, he had by 1816 exhausted his inherited fortune on gambling and extravagance, and his sharp tongue had alienated his patron. He fled to Calais, France to avoid his creditors and struggled for 14 years before becoming British consul at Caen (1830–32). In 1835 his friends rescued him from debtor's prison, but he soon lost all interest in his personal appearance, and he spent his final years in a charitable asylum.

Brummell, engraving by John Cooke after a portrait miniature, 1844

Courtesy of the trustees of the British Museum; photograph, J.R. Freeman & Co. Ltd.

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▪ English dandy
byname of  George Bryan Brummell  
born June 7, 1778, London
died March 30, 1840, Caen, Fr.
 English dandy, famous for his friendship with George, Prince of Wales (regent from 1811 and afterward King George IV). Brummell was deemed the leader of fashion at the beginning of the 19th century.

      Brummell's grandfather was a shopkeeper in the parish of St. James, London, who let lodgings to the aristocracy; his father was private secretary to Lord North from 1770 to 1782 and subsequently high sheriff of Berkshire. From his early years Brummell paid great attention to his dress. At Eton, where he was sent to school in 1790 and was extremely popular, he was known as “Buck Brummell,” and at Oxford, where he spent a brief period as an undergraduate at Oriel College, he preserved this reputation for fashion and added to it that of a wit. He returned to London, where the Prince of Wales, to whom he had been presented at Eton, gave him a commission in his own regiment (1794). Brummell soon became intimate with his patron, and, in 1798, having then reached the rank of captain, he left the service.

      In 1799 he succeeded to a fortune of about £30,000 (a bequest from his father, who had died in 1794). Setting up a bachelor establishment in Mayfair, he became, as a result of the Prince of Wales's friendship and his own good taste in dress, the recognized arbiter of fashion and a frequenter of all society's gatherings. For a time his influence was unchallenged, but eventually gambling and extravagance exhausted his fortune, while his tongue proved too sharp for his royal patron. They quarreled in 1812, and, although Brummell did not immediately lose his place in society, his debts increased so much that on May 16, 1816, he fled to Calais to avoid his creditors. There he struggled on for 14 years, always hopelessly in debt. From 1830 to 1832 he was British consul at Caen. In 1835 he was imprisoned for debt, but his friends once more came to the rescue and provided him with a small income. He soon lost all his interest in dress; his personal appearance was slovenly and dirty, and he began to live fantasies in the past. In 1837, after two attacks of paralysis, shelter was found for him in the charitable asylum of Bon Sauveur, Caen, where he spent his final years.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • BRUMMELL, BEAU —    born in London, in his day the prince of dandies; patronised by the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV.; quarrelled with the prince; fled from his creditors to Calais, where, reduced to destitution, he lived some years in the same reckless… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Beau Brummell — Beau Brummell. George Bryan Brummell, conocido como Beau Brummell («el bello Brummell») (Londres, 7 de junio de 1778 – Caen, 30 de marzo de 1840), fue el árbitro de la moda en la Inglaterra de la Regencia y amigo del príncipe Regente, que accedió …   Wikipedia Español

  • Beau Brummell — Beau Brummell1 [bō′ brum′əl] n. [after BEAU BRUMMELL2] any dandy or fop Beau Brummell2 (name for George Bryan Brummell) 1778 1840; Eng. gentleman famous for his fashionable dress and manners …   English World dictionary

  • Beau Brummell — George Bryan Brummell George Bryan Brummell, auch Beau Brummell genannt (* 7. Juni 1778 in London; † 30. März 1840 in Caen, Frankreich), war ein Verfechter des als Understatement bezeichneten Stils und gleichzeitig ein Freund …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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