Green, James (1771-1834) (DNB00)

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GREEN, JAMES (1771–1834), portrait-painter, born at Leytonstone in Essex, 13 March 1771, was son of a builder. He was apprenticed to Thomas Martyn, a draughtsman of natural history, who resided at 10 Great Marlborough Street. Here Green remained several years, and showed great talent in the imitation of shells and insects. Having higher aims in art, he made secret efforts to study, and at the expiration of his apprenticeship, entered the schools of the Royal Academy. He attracted the notice of Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., and copied many of his pictures. In 1792 he first exhibited at the Royal Academy, sending views of Oxford Market and Chapel; in 1793 he exhibited several views of Tunbridge Wells, and some portraits. He gradually attained a good reputation for his portraits in water-colour, the result of industry and careful observation rather than of great natural gifts. His execution was more elegant than powerful, but his portraits are not devoid of dignity. Many of them have been engraved, including those of Benjamin West, P.R.A., Sir R. Birnie, both engraved in mezzotint by W. Say; George Cook, the actor, as Iago, engraved in mezzotint by James Ward; Joseph Charles Horsley (the stolen child), engraved by R. Cooper. In the National Portrait Gallery there are portraits by him of Thomas Stothard, R.A., and Sir John Ross, the latter being Green's last work. The portrait of Stothard was sold at S. Rogers's sale in May 1856, as by G. H. Harlow, although it is signed 'James Green, 1830.' It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830, and was lent to the Manchester Exhibition in 1857 by its owner, Mr. J. H. Anderdon, who eventually presented it to the National Portrait Gallery. It was engraved by E. Scriven for 'The Library of the Fine Arts,' April 1833. Green also painted large subject pictures in oil, including 'Zadig and Astarte,' exhibited 1826, and engraved in the 'Literary Souvenir,' 1828; 'Béarnaise Woman and Canary,' engraved in the 'Literary Souvenir,' 1827, and 'Belinda.' His picture of 'The Loves conducted by the Graces to the Temple of Hymen' was painted in water-colour. Green also was a frequent exhibitor at the British Institution, and in 1808 was awarded a premium of 60l. He was a member of the Associated Society of Artists in Water-Colours. Many of his pictures were commissions, notably from Mr. Francis Chaplin of Riseholme, Lincolnshire. He resided for many years in South Crescent, Bedford Square, and died at Bath on 27 March 1834. He was buried in Wolcot Church.

In 1805 Green married Mary, second daughter of William Byrne [q. v.], the landscape-engraver. She was a pupil of Arlaud, and was a well-known miniature-painter, exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1795 to 1835. On her husband's death she retired from her profession, and died 22 Oct. 1845, being buried at Kensal Green. Her copies after Reynolds and Gainsborough were much valued. By her James Green was father of Benjamin Richard Green [q. v.] and of one daughter.

[Arnold's Library of the Fine Arts, May 1834; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760-1880; exhibition catalogues.]

L. C.