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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Photograph - Captain James Harris
Identifier: 979.6.393
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1875
Image Creator: Notman & Fraser Photographic Firm, Toronto
Creation Date: 2005
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: An oval photograph of Captain James Beveridge Harris (1797-1884) by 'Notman' as painted in watercolours by W.J. Fraser, RCA. Item is signed and dated in lower left corner in gilt frame. There is also a paper label that reads 'Notman & Fraser Toronto, 1875,from Notman and Fraser,London 1862 Paris 1867, Photographers to the Queen'.

Hand-tinted photograph of Captain James Beveridge Harris (1797-1884). James had a distinguished military career serving with the 24th Regiment of Foot. He served in many areas of the world including India, Ireland and Upper Canada. While serving in Ireland, James married Elizabeth Molony (1806-1884) in November 1829. James would continue to serve in the 24th Regiment of Foot and was temporarily separated from Elizabeth to serve in Upper Canada. James would return home to bring Elizabeth back to Canada. The Harris family made this arduous journey in 1835 with Elizabeth giving birth to their first child, Elizabeth (Bessie) on board the ship. James sold his military commission and retired to a life of farming on his newly acquired property in 1837 although he had purchased Benares in 1836. Elizabeth and James had eight children, four boys and four girls. Their youngest son, Arthur, inherited Benares in 1884. James and Elizabeth both died in 1884 with Elizabeth dying one month after her husband.

The Notman Photographic Firm in Toronto regularly hired artists to paint photographs or backdrops. This firm was owned by William Notman (1826-1891) and John Arthur Fraser (1938-1898). Fraser taught his technique of hand-tinting to budding artists including Homer Watson (1855-1936). See: Stanley G. Triggs, 'William Notman', 'The Canadian Encyclopedia, Year 2000 Edition' (McClelland and Stewart, 1999), 1666; Mary F Williamson, 'John Arthur Fraser' ,'The Canadian Encyclopedia, Year 2000 Edition',(McClelland and Stewart, 1999), 915; Musée McCord d'histoire canadienne, 'Les photographies composites de William Notman',(Montreal: McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1994); Roger Hall 'The World of William Notman: the nineteenth century through a master lens ' (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1993).
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