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Stirling-Maxwell, Sir William, Bart

STIRLING-MAXWELL, SIR WILLIAM, BART. (1818-1878), Scottish man of letters and virtuoso, the only son of Archibald Stirling of Keir, Perthshire, and of Elizabeth, third daughter of Sir John Maxwell, seventh baronet of Pollok, Renfrewshire, was born at Kenmure, near Glasgow, on the 8th of March, 1818. William Stirling was educated privately and, at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1839. On leaving Cambridge he spent some years abroad, chiefly in Spain and Syria. Having succeeded his father as proprietor of Keir in 1847, when he was made vice-lieutenant of Perthshire, he in 1852 entered parliament as member for that county; and he was several times re-elected. On the death of his uncle in 1865 he succeeded to the baronetcy and estates of Pollok, assuming the additional name of Maxwell. In the same year he became deputy-lieutenant of Lanarkshire, and a like office was conferred on him in Renfrewshire in 1870. He married in 1865 Anna Maria, daughter of the loth earl of Leven and Melville. She died in 1 874, and in 1 876 Sir William married Caroline Norton. In 1862 he was chosen lord rector of St Andrews, in 1872 the same honour was conferred by Edinburgh, and in 1876 he became chancellor of Glasgow. He was a trustee of the British Museum, of the National Gallery, and member of the senate of London University. In 1876 he was created a Knight of the Thistle, being the only commoner of the order. He died at Venice on the 15th of January 1878.

Sir W. Stirling-Maxwell's works, which are invariably characterized by thorough workmanship and excellent taste, were in some cases issued for private circulation only, and almost all of them are now exceedingly rare. They include an early volume of verse (Songs of the Holy Land, 1848), and several volumes containing costly reproductions of old engravings, along with valuable explanatory matter. His best-known publications are Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848), The Cloister Life of Charles V. (1852). Part of the Annals was revised and published as Velasquez and his Works (1855). The Cloister Life was at once recognized as a valuable contribution to history, but its importance was lessened by the appearance a year or two later of Mignet's Charles-Quint and L. P. Gachard's Retraite et mart de Charles-Quint. A life of Don John of Austria, from his posthumous papers, edited by Sir G. W. Cox, appeared in 1883. A collected edition of his works, with a short memoir, appeared in 1891.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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