Inscribed on a label on the reverse of the painting; James Harris of the..., Salisbury /
Author of the ''chara...ties'', and grandfather of the first Lord Malmesbury.
Married the ...Elizabeth Ashley...of the...rd Earl of Shaftsbury. Died..1733.
Name Harris: James Dates:1694-1744 Gender: Male
James Harris of the Close of Salisbury, married his second wife, Lady Elizabeth Ashley Cooper, third daughter of the second and sister of the third Lord Shaftesbury,who was born 20 July 1709. On his death his eldest son, James Harris, 1709-1780, author of `Hermes,'' became independent, and settled in the family house in Salisbury Close. He was an active magistrate for the county, living at Salisbury and his house at Durnford in the neighbourhood.
On 1 Jan. 1763, James''s son became a lord of the admiralty, and on 16 April 1763 a lord of the treasury. He retired with Grenville in 1765. He was made secretary and comptroller to the queen in 1774, but held no other office. He died 22 Dec. 1780, and was buried in the north aisle of Salisbury Cathedral. He married in 1745 Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Clarke of Sandford, Bridgwater.
Three (of five) children survived James'' eldest son, two daughters and James (1746-1820) [q.v.], afterwards first Earl of Malmesbury. The latter was his junior colleague in the representation of Christchurch (1770-4 and Sept.-Dec. 1780).A conversation with Harris at the house of Sir Joshua Reynolds is reported by Boswell in 1778 (BOSWELL, iii. 256-8, ed. Hill). Johnson seems to have respected his scholarship, but called him (ib. p. 245) `a prig and a bad prig.'' An engraving froma portrait by Highmore is prefixed to the first volume of his works (1801), and one from `a model by Gosset'' to the second.
Harris''s books are dry and technical, but have a certain interest from his adherence to the Aristotelian philosophy during the period of Locke''s supremacy. His works are: 1. Three treatises (on `Art,'' `Music, Painting, and Poetry,'' and `Happiness''), 1744; 5th edition, 1794. 2. `Hermes, or a Philosophical Inquiry concerning Universal Grammar,'' 1751; translated into French by Thurot in 1796 by order of the French Directory. 3. `Philosophical Arrangements,'' 1775. 4. `Philological Inquiries,'' 1781 (appendix of various pieces). His works were collected, with `Some Account of the Author,'' by his son, Lord Malmesbury, in 1801. `On Rise and Progress of Criticism, from Papers by J.H.,'' 1752, and `Spring: a Pastoral,'' represented at Drury Lane 22 Sept. 1762, are also attributed to him. He added some notes to Sarah Fielding''s translation of Xenophon.Sources Account as above; Malmesbury''s Diaries, 1844, vol. i. pp. vi, vii; Nichols''s Anecdotes, iii. 385 and elsewhere; Nichols''s Illustrations, v. 345-6; Baker''s Biog. Dram.
- Oil on Canvas