James Latham, Portrait Painter

(b. 1696, d. 1747)

Portrait Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was a native of Tipperary and was born in 1696. He studied at Antwerp and practised in Dublin as a portrait painter in the first half of the eighteenth century, attaining a high reputation in his profession. His portraits of "Peg Woffington" and "Francesco Geminiani," the composer, were, says Pasquin, "painted in so pure a style as to procure him the title of the Irish Vandyke." Pasquin also tells us that "a lady of distinction, with coarse lineaments, sat to him or her portrait which he drew faithfully; but she was so disgusted with the performance that she abused the painter, who immediately tore it from the frame and had it nailed to the floor of his hall as a piece of oilcloth. The consequence was that every person who came in knew the likeness, and the anecdote became so general that the mortified nymph repented her vain indiscretion and offered to buy the picture at any terms, which the artist peremptorily refused." Campbell, in his "Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland," 1778, mentions Latham and says that his portraits were "admirable and far superior to those of Mr. Jervas." But though he was the principal painter in Ireland for many years and had for his sitters many of the most eminent personages of his time, his works are now almost unknown except by the mezzotints done from a few of them in Dublin by J. Brooks and A. Millar. An example, however, a "Portrait of Bishop Berkeley," is to be seen in the Regent's House, Trinity College. Latham lived in Trinity Lane and died there on 26th January, 1747. In his will, dated 1st January, 1746-7, and proved the 7th February, following, he is described as "of the City of Dublin, limner." By his wife Joan he left a son, James, and four daughters.

Rev. John Abernethy. Engraved in mezzotint by J. Faber and, in 1745, by J. Brooks.

George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne. [Regent's House, Trinity College.] Engraved in mezzotint by J. Brooks, and in stipple by R. Meadows for Sharpe's "Classics," 1804.

Sir Samuel Cooke, Lord Mayor of Dublin. Engraved in mezzotint by J. Faber and published in Dublin by J. Brooks.

Nicholas, 1st Earl of Ely. Was in the collection of J. B. Cuvillie sold in Dublin in 1789.

Francesco Geminiani, mentioned by Pasquin. There was in the collection of Jonathan Fisher (q.v.) a "fine head of Geminiani by Latham," perhaps the same picture.

Sir John Ligonier. Engraved in mezzotint by J. Brooks, 1743.

Rev. Patrick Quin, R.C. priest. Engraved in mezzotint by A. Millar.

Lady Helena Rawdon. Engraved in mezzotint by J. Brooks, 1743.

Eaton Stannard, Recorder of Dublin; whole length. Engraved in mezzotint by A. Millar.

Eaton Stannard, half length. Engraved in mezzotint by A. Millar, 1747, and dedicated to the Lord Mayor, aldermen, etc., of Dublin.

John Wainwright, Baron of the Exchequer. Engraved in mezzotint by J. Brooks, 1742.

Peg Woffington. Mentioned by Pasquin.

His own Portrait. Mentioned by Pasquin as belonging to Philip Hussey, the painter (q.v.)

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