Laurence Binyon

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Robert Laurence Binyon (10 August 1869 at Lancaster – 10 March 1943 at Reading, Berkshire) was an English poet, dramatist, and art scholar. His most famous work, For the Fallen, is well known for being used in Remembrance Sunday services.


Pre-War life

Laurence Binyon's parents were Frederick Binyon, a Quaker minister, and Mary Dockray. Mary's father, Robert Benson Dockray, was the main engineer of the railroad company of London and Birmingham. The family were Quakers.[1]

Binyon studied at St Paul's School. Then he read Classics (Honour Moderations at Trinity College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1891.

Immediately after graduating in 1893, Binyon started working for the Department of Printed Books of the British Museum, writing catalogs for the museum and art monographs for himself. In 1895 his first book, Dutch Etchers of the Seventeenth Century, was published. In that same year, Binyon moved into the Museum's Department of Prints and Drawings, under Campbell Dodgson.[1] In 1909, Binyon became its Assistant Keeper, and in 1913 he was made the Keeper of the new Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings. Around this time he played a crucial role in the formation of Modernism in London by introducing young Imagist poets such as Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington and H.D. to East Asian visual art and literature.[2] Many of Binyon's books produced while at the Museum were influenced by his own sensibilities as a poet, although some are works of plain scholarship - such as his four-volume catalogue of all the Museum's English drawings, and his seminal catalogue of Chinese and Japanese prints.

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