William Algernon Churchill

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William Algernon Churchill (1865–1947) was an art historian and British diplomat.

Family and early life[edit]

He was the son of Henry Adrian Churchill (1828–1886) who was an archaeologist and British diplomat, and Countess Maria Braniefska (b. Warsaw 1839? - d. Rio de Janeiro 1905).[1] His two older brothers, Harry Lionel (1860-1924) and Sidney John Alexander (1862-1921), were also diplomats.

He married Hannah Violet Myers whose sister married his brother Sydney.[1] They had four children: Walter (1907-1943), Peter (1909-1972), Flora (1911-1929), and Oliver (1914-1997). His three sons served in the British Armed Forces during World War II - Walter becoming an ace during the Battle of Britain while Peter and Oliver each served in the Special Operations Executive - and all three were highly decorated, each being awarded the Distinguished Service Order and also a second high level medal of gallantry.



He was an art historian with particular interest in watermarks in paper. He was author of what is still the standard reference work on early European paper and papermaking ‘Watermarks in Paper in Holland, England, France, etc., in the XVII and XVIII centuries, and their interconnection’. [1][2][3][4][5][6] First published in 1935, this book is still in print.[7][8] The extensive introduction contains inter alia an alphabetical List of Dutch papermakers, a list of French paper-makers who worked for the Dutch market, and a list of British paper-makers and mills. At the end a survey of particulars concerning the watermarks in question. The corpus of the work is systematically arranged according to motives and contains 578 fullsize reproductions of watermarks. With illustrations and 578 facsimiles of watermarks.[7]


He also served as a diplomat. In 1891, he was appointed British Vice-Consul in Mozambique,[9] then Consul in Mozambique (1892),[10] Pará, Amazon Provinces, Brazil (1897),[11] Amsterdam (1906),[12] and Stockholm (1913),[13] then Consul-General in Milan (1919),[14] and finally Algiers[15] He retired to live in Malvern, Worcestershire.