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Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, 1st Bt (1571-1631), Antiquary
Sitter associated with 13 portraits
Founder of the Cottonian Library, the single greatest resource of literature in Old English and Middle English, which now resides at the British Library. Educated at Westminster School and Jesus College, Cambridge, Cotton became interested in antiquarian studies under his tutor, William Camden, and began to form a library. He entered Parliament in 1601 where he advised James I and Charles I. With a set of records that surpassed that of the government, his library was used extensively by parliamentarians and scholars. Cotton's anti-royalist politics led the authorities to fear the uses of his library and in 1630 it was confiscated and returned to his heirs only after his death.
by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, feigned oval, probably 18th century