Henry Thomas Colebrooke FRS FRSE (1765-1837) was a Sanskrit scholar and orientalist. He was born in London, the third son of Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet, Chairman of the East India Company, and Mary Gaynor of Antigua. He was educated at home and at fifteen was adept in classics and mathematics.
In 1782 Colebrooke was appointed to a writership in India. He held administrative, legal and academic posts whilst in India during which time he learnt Sanskrit which he used to translate "Digest of Hindu Laws", unfinished by Sir William Jones.
Colebrooke returned to England in 1814 where he played an active role in promoting knowledge. He was co-founder of the Royal Astronomical Society. He was present at the inaugural dinner and meeting on January 12, 1820. More significantly for the Royal Asiatic Society, he instigated its foundation, with the initial planning meetings taking place at his home. He presided as Director of the Society until his death in 1837.
Belinda Colebrooke was born on 11th July 1800, the elder daughter of George Colebrooke. On his death, her mother, was involved in a series of relationships. Belinda and her sister, Harriet, were eventually made wards-of-court and placed with a foster mother. On 28th October 1823 she married, at New Church St. Marylebone, Charles Joshua Smith 2nd Baronet. She died, without children, in London on 22nd January 1825.
Charles Athanase Walckenaer (1771-1852) was a French civil servant and scientist. He was elected a member of the Institut de France in 1813, was mayor (maire) in the 5th arrondissement in Paris and secretary-general of the prefect of the Seine 1816-1825. He was made a baron in 1823. In 1839 he was appointed conservator for the Department of Maps at the Royal Library in Paris and in 1840 secretary for life in the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. He was one of the founders of the Société entomologique de France in 1832. He introduced the English form of biography into French literature.
Horace Hayman Wilson (1786-1860) was an English orientalist who studied medicine at St Thomas' Hospital, London, before travelling to India in 1808 to become an assistant surgeon for the East India Company in Bengal. Whilst in Calcutta he devoted his attention to the study of Indian languages, especially Sanskrit, and in 1811 became the Secretary of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, upon the recommendation of Henry Colebrooke. In 1832, Wilson left India as he was appointed the first Professorship in Sanskrit at Oxford University. Four years later he became Librarian at East India House and he fulfilled both positions for many years. Wilson wrote extensively on the subjects of Sanskrit literature, Hindu religion, and Indian history. He became Director of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1837 following Colebrooke's death, and remained in position until his own death in 1860.
Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854) was born in Copenhagen. He obtained the diploma of the Royal Academy of Surgeons at Copenhagen in 1806 and was subsequently appointed Surgeon to the Danish settlement at Serampore, Bengal, in 1807. From 1817 he took a permanent post as Superintendent of the Calcutta Botanic Garden, and travelled widely in the Indian subcontinent. Wallich published two major works on the plants of the region, Tentamen Flora Nepalensis Illustratae (1824-26) and Plantae Asiaticae Rariories (1830-32). Due to ill-health, Wallich resigned his post in 1846 and retired to London, where he became Vice-President of the Linnean Society, of which he had been a fellow since 1818. Wallich remained in London until his death seven years later, aged 68.