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Gwendolen Mary John (Gwen John) (1876-1939), artist, was born on 22 June 1876 in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, to Edwin and Augusta John. She attended the Slade School of Fine Art, London, from 1895 to 1898. In 1904 she settled in Paris, moving to the suburb of Meudon in 1911. From 1911 until his death the American lawyer and art collector John Quinn (1870-1924) became a patron of her work. In 1920 John became friends with Quinn's companion Jeanne Robert Foster (1879-1970). Gwen John died in Dieppe, France, on 18 September 1939.
Gwen John's younger brother, Augustus Edwin John (1878-1961), artist, was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, and became a leading British portrait painter. His marriage to Ida Nettleship (1877-1907) produced five children. Dorothy McNeill (1881-1969), his mistress and, following Ida's death, his common-law wife, gave him a further four children. The family settled at Alderney Manor, Dorset, and from 1927 at Fryern Court, Fordingbridge, Hampshire. Augustus died there on 31 October 1961.
Michael Holroyd, biographer and writer, was born on 27 August 1935 in London to Basil and Ulla Holroyd and was educated at Eton College. He has produced biographies of Hugh Kingsmill, Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw as well as Augustus John: A Biography (London, 1974-5) and Augustus John: The New Biography (London, 1996). He married the writer Margaret Drabble in 1982, was awarded the CBE in 1989 and was knighted in 2007.