Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741), Patron of letters and collector
Sitter in 12 portraits
Edward Harley entered Christ Church, Oxford in 1707 and succeeded to the title as 2nd Earl of Oxford in 1724. He was a patron of Pope, Swift, Prior and Vertue. His great library, started by his father and described by Samuel Johnson as excelling any offered for sale, was dispersed in 1742, but the celebrated (Harleian) manuscripts were bought for the British Museum in 1753 from the dowager countess.