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Sir James Gray, 2nd Baronet PC, KB (c. 1708 – 14 February 1773) was a British diplomat and antiquary.

He was the elder son of Sir James Gray, 1st Baronet and his wife Hester Dodd. His younger brother was General George Gray. He completed his education at Clare College, Cambridge, being awarded M.A. in 1729.[1] He then travelled on the continent.

Be began a diplomatic career in 1744 as secretary to Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness, the Minister Resident at Venice and succeeded him as Resident there from 1746 to 1752. In October 1753, he was sent to Naples, where he remained until 1763, undertaking a mission to Rome concerning The Young Pretender in 1755. His final diplomatic position was as ambassador to Spain from 1766 to 1770, during which time he was there only about two years. On his return to England in 1769, he was sworn to the Privy Council. He was made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1759.

He and his brother were founder members of the Society of Dilettanti of which George was secretary and treasurer. While in Naples, he took a close interest in the archaeological discoveries at Portici and Herculaneum. He nominated suitable young grand tourists for the Society of Dilettanti. He also offered advice on the king's new palace at Caserta.

He died in 1773 leaving two illegitimate daughters. His baronetcy was inherited by his brother, who died the same year, upon which it became extinct.


  1. ^ Sir James Gray, Bart in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
The Earl of Holderness
Minster at Venice
1746 – 1752
Succeeded by
Preceded by
British Ambassador to the Two Sicilies
1753 – 1763
Succeeded by
Sir William Hamilton
Preceded by
The Earl of Rochford
British ambassador to Spain
1766 – 1770
Succeeded by
George Pitt
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
James Gray
(of Denne Hill)
1722 – 1773
Succeeded by
George Gray


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