(1822–1892) [q. v.] and William, afterwards Lord Kelvin (1824–1908), were the two elder sons.
There is a good portrait of Thomson, by Grahame Gilbert, formerly belonging to Lord Kelvin. A copy of it hangs in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.
He was the author of the following schoolbooks, which long enjoyed a high reputation and passed through many editions: 1. ‘Arithmetic,’ Belfast, 1819; 72nd edit. London, 1880. 2. ‘Trigonometry, Plane and Spherical,’ Belfast, 1820; 4th edit. London, 1844. 3. ‘Introduction to Modern Geography,’ Belfast, 1827. 4. ‘The Phenomena of the Heavens,’ Belfast, 1827. 5. ‘The Differential and Integral Calculus,’ 1831; 2nd edit. London, 1848. 6. ‘Euclid,’ 1834. 7. ‘Atlas of Modern Geography.’ 8. ‘Algebra,’ 1844. A very graphic paper, entitled ‘Recollections of the Battle of Ballynahinch, by an Eye-witness,’ which appeared in the ‘Belfast Magazine’ for February 1825, was from his pen.
[Sketch written in 1862 by his son, Professor James Thomson, in consultation with Professor William Thomson (subsequently Lord Kelvin), in Poggendorff's Biographisch-literarisches Handwörterbuch; Memoir of Professor James Thomson, jun., by J. T. Bottomley, F.R.S., in Proceedings of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow, 1892–3; information kindly supplied by Thomson's grandchildren, Mr. James Thomson and Miss Thomson, Newcastle-on-Tyne.]
THOMSON, JAMES (1788–1850), engraver, was baptised on 5 May 1788 at Mitford, Northumberland, where his father, James Thomson, afterwards vicar of Ormesby, Yorkshire, was then acting as curate. Showing a taste for art, he was sent to London to be articled to an engraver named Mackenzie, and on the voyage from Shields was nine weeks at sea. After completing his apprenticeship with Mackenzie, he worked for two years under Anthony Cardon [q. v.], and then established himself independently. He became an accomplished engraver in the dot and stipple style, devoting himself almost exclusively to portraits, and was largely engaged upon important illustrated works, including Lodge's ‘Portraits of Illustrious Personages,’ Fisher's ‘National Portrait Gallery,’ Walpole's ‘Anecdotes of Painting,’ Heath's ‘Book of Beauty,’ Mrs. Mee's ‘Gallery of Beauties,’ the ‘Keepsake,’ the ‘Court Magazine,’ and ‘Ancient Marbles in the British Museum.’ Thomson's principal single plates are the portraits of Mrs. Storey, after Lawrence, 1826; Lady Burghersh and her sisters, after Lawrence, 1827; John Wesley, after Jackson, 1828; Charles James Blomfield, bishop of London, after Richmond, 1847; the queen riding with Lord Melbourne, after Sir Francis Grant; Prince Albert, after Sir William Charles Ross; and Louis-Philippe and his queen, a pair, after E. Dubufe, 1850. He died at his house in Albany Street, London, on 27 Sept. 1850. By his wife, whose maiden name was Lloyd, he had two daughters, one of whom, Ann, married Frederick Goodall, R.A.
[Ottley's Dict. of Painters and Engravers; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Gent. Mag. 1850, ii. 558; Mitford Parish Register.]
THOMSON, JAMES (1768–1855), editor of the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica,’ born in May 1768 at Crieff in Perthshire, was the second son of John Thomson by his wife, Elizabeth Ewan. Thomas Thomson (1773–1852) [q. v.] was his younger brother. James was educated at the parish school, and afterwards proceeded to Edinburgh University. He was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Haddington on 6 Aug. 1793, and frequently assisted his uncle, John Ewan, minister of Whittingham, East Lothian. In 1795 he became associated with George Gleig [q. v.], bishop of Brechin, as co-editor of the third edition of the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica.’ He wrote several articles himself, including those on ‘Scripture,’ ‘Septuagint,’ and ‘Superstition.’ That on ‘Scripture’ was retained in several later editions. During the same period he prepared an edition of the ‘Spectator,’ with short biographies of the contributors (Newcastle, 1799, 8 vols. 8vo). In 1796 he became tutor to the sons of John Stirling of Kippendavie, and resigned his post on the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica’ to his younger brother, Thomas Thomson (1773–1852) [q. v.] Both brothers were constant contributors to the ‘Literary Journal’ founded in 1803 by James Mill [q. v.], James Thomson contributing the philosophic articles. On 26 Aug. 1805 Thomson was ordained minister of Eccles, Berwickshire. In his country life he devoted himself to the study of the Bible in the original tongues, and to the careful editing of his discourses on St. Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. In 1842 he received the honorary degree of D.D. from the university of St. Andrews, and in 1847 he resigned his charge and retired to Edinburgh. In 1854 he removed to London, where he died on 28 Nov. 1855.
On 10 Oct. 1805 Thomson married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of James Skene of Aberdeen, second son of George Skene of Skene, Aberdeenshire. She died in 1851, leaving three sons: Robert Dundas Thomson [q. v.]; James Thomson, chairman of the government bank of Madras; and Andrew Skene Thomson, besides a daughter Eliza.