Brummell, George

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Brummell, George (1778–1840), known as ‘Beau’ Brummell. English dandy. Son of Lord North's private secretary, with a reputation for fastidiousness and ready repartee apparent even at Eton, he utilized a generous inheritance to settle in Mayfair and devote himself to becoming an arbiter of fashion, promoting personal cleanliness and refinement in dress through moderation, in contrast to the Macaronis' slovenliness. Supremely self-centred, cold, and arrogant, he was an intimate friend of George, prince of Wales until royal favour was withdrawn in 1811, after which he lost commercial credit but increased gaming. Accumulating debt eventually forced him to retire to Calais (1816), where he received assistance from friends and was briefly consul at Caen (post abolished in 1832). A subsequent slide into poverty was accompanied by two paralytic strokes, until degradation and imbecility led to admission to an asylum at Caen, where he died.

A. S. Hargreaves