Robert Gould Shaw III

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A Charcoal drawing of Robert Gould Shaw III by John Singer Sargent

Robert Gould Shaw III (18 Aug 1898 — 10 July 1970) was an American-born English socialite. He was the only son of Viscountess Nancy Witcher Langhorne and her first husband landowner/socialite Robert Gould Shaw II, who was a son of investor Quincy Adams Shaw and first cousin of Civil War Union casualty Colonel Robert Gould Shaw.

Shaw's birth father had a limited role in his life while he had a close, if occasionally difficult, relationship to his mother.[1] Shaw was educated at Shrewsbury School. He briefly served in the Life Guards but his increasing alcoholism caused difficulty.

He had long had suicidal tendencies and his life mostly went adrift from an early point. In 1931, he was imprisoned for six months for homosexual offences. His alcoholism, the Profumo affair, his mother's death, and the death of his half-brother Viscount William Waldorf Astor II may have increased his suicidal tendencies. On July 10, 1970 he committed suicide, aged 71. He is buried in the estate chapel at Cliveden. John Singer Sargent did a 1923 charcoal portrait of Shaw in his military uniform. His mother gave the portrait to Alfred Edward Goodey, art collector and Shaw's partner, and it was later sold in England in 2011 for £23,000.