George STEPNEY 1663-1707
Born in London, son of George Stepney, courtier. BA Trinity College, Cambridge 1686, MA and fellow 1689. His friendship with Charles Montagu, later Earl of Halifax (who he met at Cambridge) helped him enter diplomatic service, initially as secretary to Sir Peter Wych at Hamburg. He went on to work for other ambassadors and developed great knowledge of German affairs, leading to his appointment as envoy extraordinary at Vienna from 1701. He was also a poet and pamphleteer, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1697, the year in which he also became a commissioner for trade and plantations.
Stepney used several engraved armorial bookplates (Franks 28058, 28059, 28060/*322). In his will, he directed that "when all my bookes shall be transported to England and sett up in my study", 100 volumes should be selected by Montagu; after that, the rest of his study was to go to his cousin Erasmus Lewis. The size of the library is not known.
- Will of George Stepney, The National Archives PROB 11/498/351.
- Frey, Linda, and Marsha Frey. "Stepney, George (1663–1707), diplomatist." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903.