George Finch, 8th Earl of Winchilsea (1752-1826)

Biography of George Finch, the first Ri President.

  • George Finch, 8th Earl of Winchilsea

    Detail of a 19th century portrait of George Finch, 8th Earl of Winchilsea, by Henry William Beechey

    Credit: Royal Institution


Ri positions

  • President, 1799-1813

Winchilsea attended Eton College and studied at Christ Church, Oxford. He served in the British Army during the American war of Independence being promoted Major in 1779 and Lieutenant-Colonel the following year. He was a member of the Board of Agriculture which was closely involved with the founding of the Royal Institution. As a Lord of the Bedchamber (a senior courtier) to King George III from 1777 to 1812 he asked the King for his patronage of the new Institution, as it was initially called. The King consented at the end of June 1799, although the newly named Royal Institution did not receive its charter until early the following year. Winchilsea was also one of the founders of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography