Eton College, Windsor SL4 6DW, Regno Unito
Linton Park, Linton, Maidstone ME17, Regno Unito
Palazzo Manetti, Via di Santo Spirito, 23, 50125 Firenze FI, Italia
St Nicholas, Linton Hill, Linton, Maidstone ME17 4AW, Regno Unito
Sir Horace (Horatio) Mann, 1st Baronet KB (c. 25 August 1706 – 6 November 1786), diplomat, was a long-standing British resident in Florence. W.S. Lewis mentions letters to Horace Walpole's "effeminate" friends, Horace Mann, John Chute, and George Montagu, not to mention Thomas Gray and Richard West. Like the letter to Henry Seymour Conway, and like the Countess' letters to her son, we could read these letters as a riddle and imagine a hidden truth that Walpole has disguised in near-hysterical friendliness.
Mann was the second son of Robert Mann (1678–1751), a successful London merchant, and his wife. He was brought up at Chelsea, and educated at Eton College and later, briefly, at Clare College, Cambridge. Suffering from poor health, he travelled on the continent in the 1730s.
In February 1737, he was appointed as secretary to Charles Fane, the British Minister at Florence. He then served as British diplomatic representative there to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany for the rest of his life. In the course of his long diplomatic career, he was Chargé d'affaires in 1738-1740; Minister between 1740 and 1765; Envoy Extraordinary from 1767; and finally Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from 1782 until his death. As Great Britain had no diplomatic representation at Rome, Mann's duties included reporting on the activities of the exiled Stuarts, the Old Pretender and the Young Pretender.
Mann kept an open house for British visitors at Palazzo Manetti, Florence, inviting them for conversazione when there was no performance at the theatre. His generosity and kindness was well known, although his close friendship with the painter Thomas Patch (expelled from Rome after a homosexual incident) reflected on his reputation. He met Horace Walpole (to whom he was distantly related) in 1739, and conducted a now-renowned correspondence with him over forty years, though they last met in 1741. The correspondence was published by Lord Dover in 1833.
In recognition of his service he was created a baronet on 3 March 1755. and made a Knight of the Bath on 26 October 1768. (when his nephew Horace stood proxy). In 1775, on the death of his elder brother, Edward Louisa Mann, he inherited the Linton Park estate which his father had bought at Linton, Kent.
Palazzo Manetti, Florence, Italy
He died unmarried in Florence on 6 November 1786. His nephew Horace inherited his baronetcy by special remainder and also acted as Chargé d'affaires until the arrival of his replacement.
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