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maynard keynes
(1883 - 1946)



John Maynard Keynes

Biography

  • British economist
  • Financial mainman to the Bloomsbury Group

I'd always thought of Maynard Keynes as one of those chinless wonders who was handed everything to him on a silver plate. This was mainly down to the photos of him where he did look like one of those Eton chinless wonders who invariably end up running the country. But I was wrong. Well, not wrong exactly for he was educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge but his achievements in economics mark him down as one of the great men of his generation. And at 6ft6 one of the tallest as well.

He was born on June 5, 1883, the son of John Neville Keynes, an economics lecturer at Cambridge University, and Florence Ada Brown, a successful author and a social reformist. Through the friendships he made at Cambridge, he was brought into the Bloomsbury group. His close relationships with Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant (with whom he had a serious relationship between 1908 and 1915) extended to giving them both financial assistance. Grant, in particular, he looked after financially for the rest of his life.

During World War One Keynes was working at the Treasury, but spent weekends at Charleston, (the Sussex retreat for the Bloomsbury group). He was the Treasury's chief representative at the Paris Peace Conference but, disillusioned with the negotiations, he resigned and retreated to Charleston, where he wrote his celebrated polemic The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919).

In 1925 he married the celebrated Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova and settled in the neighbourhood of Charleston. For medical reasons, they had no children.

He spent much of his personal wealth on collecting books (he collected the papers of Isaac Newton) and pictures and financing the Cambridge Arts Theatre; he was also instrumental in setting up the Arts Council of Great Britain, of which he was the first Chairman.

In 1942 he was created Baron Keynes of Tilton. He sat on the Liberal benches.

He died of infarction on April 21, 1946. His father outlived him by three years, dying at the age of 97.


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