Lambert Playfair KCMG (21 March 1828 – 18 February
1899) was a British soldier, diplomat, naturalist and author.
1 Early life
2 Career and later life
6 External links
Lambert Playfair was a grandson of James Playfair, principal of the
University of St Andrews, and son of George Playfair (1782–1846),
chief inspector-general of hospitals in Bengal, and his wife Jessie
Ross. Lambert was born in
St Andrews when his parents were at home on
leave, and left there to be educated when they returned to India. His
elder brother, Lyon, became Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair.
Career and later life
Playfair was a military cadet at Addiscombe College, then joined the
Madras Army in 1846 at the age of 18. He became an artillery officer
and with the rank of Captain was appointed to the Madras Staff Corps
in 1858. He was promoted to Major in 1866, and left the army
with the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1867.
Playfair was assistant Political Agent at
Aden 1854–62, then
Political Agent, then Consul, at Zanzibar 1862–67, and was appointed
Consul-General in Algeria in 1867. His territory was extended to
Algeria and Tunis in 1885. He was knighted KCMG in the Queen's
Birthday Honours of 1886. He retired in 1896 and was given an
honorary doctorate by the University of St Andrews.
He is buried in the churchyard of
St Andrews Cathedral with his wife
Agnes Webster Ranken (1832–1918) and eldest daughter Agnes Mary
Playfair. The grave lies at the foot of his parents' grave.
A History of Arabia Felix or Yemen from the commencement of the
Christian era to the present time; Including an account of the British
Aden (Bombay, 1859)
The Fishes of Zanzibar, with
Albert Günther (London, 1866)
Handbook to the Mediterranean: its cities, coasts, and islands
The Scourge of Christendom: Annals of British relations with Algiers
prior to the French Conquest (London, 1884)
Bibliography of the Barbary States, Algeria, Cyrenaica and Morocco
A Bibliography of Morocco from the Earliest time to the end of 1891
^ "No. 7305". The Edinburgh Gazette. 27 February 1863.
^ "No. 23192". The
London Gazette. 30 November 1866.
^ "No. 7802". The Edinburgh Gazette. 29 November 1867.
^ "No. 23267". The
London Gazette. 25 June 1867. p. 3540.
^ "No. 25465". The
London Gazette. 28 April 1885. p. 1917.
^ "No. 25592". The
London Gazette. 29 May 1886. p. 2635.
PLAYFAIR, Sir Robert Lambert, Who Was Who, A & C Black,
1920–2015 (online edition, Oxford University Press, 2015)
Carlyle, Edward Irving (1901). "Playfair, Robert Lambert". In
Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement.
London: Smith, Elder & Co.
Archive catalogue: Playfair family, University of St Andrews
Obituary, The Times, London, 20 February 1899, page 10
Carlyle, E. I.; Milne, Lynn. "Playfair, Sir Robert Lambert
Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.).
Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22369.
(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
Wikispecies has information related to Robert Lambert Playfair
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews Photographic Collection
Lambert Playfair and his ‘Account of Aden’: a new
acquisition adds to substantial archive,
Special Collections of the
University of St Andrews
ISNI: 0000 0001 1033 5232