Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, c. 1870, photograph by Thomas Annan
|Member of Parliament for Perthshire|
12 February 1874 – 15 January 1878
|Preceded by||Charles Stuart Parker|
|Succeeded by||Henry Home-Drummond-Moray|
8 March 1818
Kenmure, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland
|Died||15 January 1878 (aged 59)|
Lady Anna Maria Leslie-Melville
(m. 1865; died 1874)
(m. 1877; died 1877)
|Parents||Sir Archibald Stirling|
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Cambridge|
|Occupation||Historic writer, art historian, politician|
Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th Baronet MP KT, of Pollok FRSE DCL LLD (8 March 1818 – 15 January 1878), was a Scottish historical writer and art historian, politician, and virtuoso.
Until 1865 he was known as William Stirling, and several of his books were published under that name. He was Chancellor of the University of Glasgow from 1875 until his death and was also a Knight of the Thistle, considered the highest honour that can be conferred by the Crown on a Scotsman.
He was born at Kenmure, the son of Sir Archibald Stirling, Esq., of Keir and Cawder, and Elizabeth Maxwell, sister of Sir John Maxwell, 8th Baronet, and Harriet Maxwell (died 1812) and daughter of Sir John Maxwell, 7th Baronet and Hannah or Anne Gardiner, daughter of Richard Gardiner, of Aldborough, Suffolk.
He was privately educated at Olney in Buckinghamshire then studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a BA degree in 1839 and proceeding to MA in 1843. He travelled in Spain and the Levant and contributed to Fraser's Magazine and the Examiner. In 1848 he published his pioneering Annals of the Artists of Spain. He succeeded to the Keir estates in 1847.
In 1849 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh his proposer being John Russell. He served as the Society's vice president from 1871 to 1875.
He served as Member of Parliament for Perthshire from 1852 to 1868 and again from 1874 to 1878. He was appointed a Member of the Universities Commission in 1859 and of the Historical Manuscripts Commission from 1872 to 1878, as well as of the Scottish Education Board (a forerunner to the Scottish Office). He was elected Rector of the University of St Andrews in 1862 and of the University of Edinburgh in 1871.
He succeeded to the Maxwell Baronetcy (in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia) in 1865, assuming the additional name of Maxwell.
He was elected Chancellor of the University of Glasgow in 1875, the first to have been elected by members of the General Council (previous Chancellors having been elected by members of the Senate), and was awarded an Honorary DCL from the University of Oxford in the following year. He was a member of the University of London Senate and a trustee of the British Museum and the National Gallery.
He lived at Keir House near Dunblane. He was a breeder of shorthorns and Clydesdale horses, an ardent bibliographer and collector of works of art.
He died on holiday in Venice on 15 January 1878 but his body was returned to Britain and he is buried in the Lecropt Churchyard near Stirling.
He married firstly Lady Anna Maria Leslie-Melville (died 8 December 1874), daughter of David Leslie-Melville, 8th Earl of Leven and Elizabeth Anne Campbell, and had, at least:
In March 1877, Stirling Maxwell married secondly noted author and society figure Caroline Norton, a granddaughter of the famous Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. She died three months later.