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Ian Basil Gawaine Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, styled Lord Basil Temple Blackwood, was born in Clandeboye, County Down, on 4 November 1870, the fifth child of Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. He spent part of his childhood in Canada, where his father was Governor-General, before attending Harrow School. He studied at Balliol College, Oxford, but never graduated. While there he became friends with Hilaire Belloc.
In 1896 he illustrated Belloc's book of humorous children's verse, The Bad Child's Book of Beasts. He went on to illustrate Belloc's The Modern Traveller (1898), A Moral Alphabet (1899), More Peers (1900), Cautionary Tales for Children (1907) and More Beasts for Worse Children (1910).
He was called to the Bar in 1896, and in 1900 he was joined the staff of Lord Milner, the High Commissioner of South Africa, a group of talented young assistants nicknamed "Milner's Kindergarten". Blackwood was employed in the Judge Advocate's Department for a year, then was Assistant Colonial Secretary of Orange River Colony from 1901 to 1907. He became Colonial Secretary of Barbados in 1907 and returning to England in 1910, was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Land Development Commission.
On the outbreak of the First World War, Blackwood obtained a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Lancers, at the age of 44. He served as a "galloper" at the Battle of Mons, but was severely wounded in October 1914 and returned to the UK. While not yet fit for active service, he served in the Intelligence Corps, and was Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1916; but had recovered sufficiently to became a Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards in the same year. Blackwood was killed in action in a night raid at Boesinghe, near Ypres, on 4 July 1917.
- Hilaire Belloc's The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, The Modern Traveller, and Cautionary Tales for Children at Archive.org
- Hilare Belloc's More Beasts (for Worse Children) and [More Peers] at Project Gutenberg