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John Clerk (1676-1755) - Politician

He was born in Edinburgh and studied law at Glasgow and Leiden, although he was destined never to practise. While abroad his interests turned to music and architecture, and his travels in Italy between 1697 and 1700 awakened classical tastes. On his return to Scotland he became a Commissioner for the Act Of The Union of 1707 and spent some time at the court of Queen Anne. After the passing of the Act he received the sinecure of Baron of the Exchequer and retired to his seat at Penicuik to enjoy the pleasures of a literary and antiquarian life and the cultivation of his large garden. Like many other Augustan squires he composed a number of rounded verses and produced books on scientific and classical literary subjects. Among those who enjoyed his patronage were the poet Allan Ramsay and the architect Robert Adam.

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