Sir James Mackintosh

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir James Mackintosh

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, exhibited 1804
36 3/4 in. x 29 in. (933 mm x 737 mm)
Given by the sitter's son, Robert James Mackintosh, 1858
Primary Collection
NPG 45

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist or producer associated with 695 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The Scottish writer and philosopher James Mackintosh was appointed Recorder at Bombay in 1804. Anxious to obtain leisure for study and literary schemes incompatible with an active professional career, Mackintosh had taken the post in the hope that it would allow him to write his great philosophical masterpiece. His expectations were soon disappointed and he began to miss London society and the stimulation of his peers. He founded the 'Literary Society of Bombay' in 1805 and promoted the study of Indian languages and philosophy. As part of his duties as Recorder, Mackintosh had to pass judgment in some delicate corruption cases, making his life in the small colonial community extremely difficult. The state of his health finally forced his return to England in 1811.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D15370: Sir James Mackintosh (source portrait)
  • NPG D38102: Sir James Mackintosh (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1804back to top

Current affairs

William Pitt returns to office and forms a second coalition administration, retaining many of those who had served under his predecessor Henry Addington but specifically excluding his arch rival Charles James Fox .

Art and science

William Blake starts writing Jerusalem. One of his most ambitious allegorical poems, it took nearly eight years to complete.
Amidst infighting about submissions to the annual exhibition, attempts are made to unseat painter Benjamin West as President of the Royal Academy and elect architect James Wyatt instead.


Napoleon declares himself Emperor of France and is crowned as Napoleon I by Pope Pius VII in Paris.
Haiti achieves independence led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, the patriot and martyr who had seized control from the French in 1801. He becomes a symbolic figure of freedom for the British anti-slavery movement.

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