James Graham-Clarke

James Graham-Clarke (1791–1859)

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 1, 299.

Born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 27 September 1791, he was the seventh child and third son of John and Arabella Graham-Clarke. He had literary talent, as indicated by two lengthy verse letters written to his sister Mary Moulton-Barrett in April 1812 (SD160 and 162). EBB sometimes chided him for not making more use of this talent. James grew to adulthood at Fenham Hall, the Graham-Clarke family home. A letter from his sister Charlotte to Henrietta Moulton-Barrett dated 5 October 1820 (SD354) gives evidence of his being there and refers to his “well stocked menagerie.” He did considerable travelling—visiting relatives in Ireland and elsewhere—and was a frequent visitor at Hope End. A letter to him from EBB’s father, 9 October 1828 (SD675), indicates that he was visiting Hope End at the time of Mary Moulton-Barrett’s death in Cheltenham. Later family correspondence shows him to have been much involved in Graham-Clarke and Moulton-Barrett business interests, including those that involved Jamaica. For many years, and with great efficiency, he conducted the business at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He never married. A letter from him to EBB’s uncle Sam dated 20 December 1827 (SD638), shortly after the death of his mother, shows that he was still living in the family home at Fenham. He wrote: “I cannot make up my mind to leave it, altho’ it is rather too large.” Eventually, in 1833, he did sell the property and made his home at Benwell Lodge, near Newcastle. Upon retirement, some years later, he moved to the Continent. In the late years of his life he caused family concern with an undefined illness, which appears to have given rise to severe paranoid tendencies. He died at Tours, France, on 11 December 1859.

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