Born on March 18, 1840, William Cosmo Monkhouse was educated at St. Paul's School from 1848 to 1856. He earned his living at the Board of Trade, in which he worked his way up from clerk to Assistant Secretary of the Finance Department. Privately, Monkhouse was a man of letters: a poet and a critic of art and literature. He published five volumes of verse between 1865 and 1901.

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