Elmes, James (DNB00)
|←Elmes, Harvey Lonsdale|| Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 17
ELMES, JAMES (1782-1862), architect and antiquary, son of Samuel Elmes, was born in London 15 Oct. 1782, admitted into Merchant Taylors' School in April 1796, and subsequently became a pupil of George Gibson, and a student of the Royal Academy, where he gained the silver medal for an architectural design in 1804. Between 1808 and 1814 he exhibited designs at the Royal Academy, was vice-president of the Royal Architectural Society in 1809, and surveyor of the port of London — posts which loss of sight compelled him to relinquish in 1848. He designed and erected a good many buildings in the metropolis, but devoted most of his attention to the literature of art. He was a frequent contributor to architectural and antiquarian periodicals, and from 1816 to 1820 was editor of 'The Annals of the Fine Arts,' the first periodical work of its kind. In this Elmes was the constant champion of his friend B. R. Haydon [q. v.], and of the Elgin marbles. Many of Haydon's papers were printed by Elmes, who through Haydon made the acquaintance of Keats; the latter's odes 'To the Nightingale' and 'On a Grecian Urn,' and also his sonnets 'To Haydon' and 'On seeing the Elgin Marbles,' first appeared in the 'Annals;' also Wordsworth's sonnets 'Upon the Sight of a Beautiful Picture' and 'To B. R. Haydon, Esq.' Late in life Elmes employed his pen upon theological topics, writing upon the 'Hebrew Poetry of the Middle Ages,' and compiling a 'Harmony of the Gospels.' He died at Greenwich 2 April 1862. and was buried at Charlton, having outlived his son, Harvey Lonsdale Elmes [q. v.], an architect of great promise, many years.
Elmes's chief works are: 1. 'Hints on the Improvement of Prisons,' 1817, 4to; a popular treatise on dilapidations (3rd ed. 1829). 2. 'Lectures on Architecture,' 1823, 8vo.' 3. 'Memoirs of the Life and Works of Sir Christopher Wren,' 1823, 4to (enlarged ed. 8vo, 1852). 4. 'The Arts and Artists,' 3 vols. 12mo, 1825. 5. 'A Bibliographical Dictionary of the Fine Arts,' 8vo, 1826. Also 'Elmes's Quarterly Review' and 'Thomas, Clarkson, a Monograph.' His latest work was 'The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ rendered into out own narrative,' 1856, 12mo.[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists, 137; Gent. Mag. 3rd ser. xii, 784; The Builder, 19 April 1862; Robinson's Reg. of Merchant Taylors' School; Brit. Mus. Cat.]