Edward James Eliot (1758 - 1797)
Edward James was the second child and second son of Edward Eliot and Catherine Elliston.
Being that this gentleman is the reason for all of my Eliot research and this website, it was impossible to abbreviate any area of his life — becoming quite obvious while writing out the "personal page" for my hero — that the result was going to be much too long for just one web page. So, this is a multi-page tribute, separated by subject in basic chronological order. These are best read in the order listed below, but just click on any chapter heading if you are only interested in one aspect of Edward James Eliot's life. This is the result of years of research, and I hope that more facts will come to light over time, making this a perpetual work-in-progress.
Nothing makes a person more real in your mind than a picture, and finding a portrait of Edward James was my first self-assigned task with this project. No problem at all! His well-documented portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds still hangs at Port Eliot, and it was not hard to locate that one. But no researcher is happy with just one picture of their hero, right? Of course, not! He died quite young, but I didn't want to give up the hope that other portraits may be out there. Send out enough enquiries, and you're bound to get some answers. In this case, several positive ones have returned over time — the current result being a total of three paintings (including the Reynolds) and one silhouette.
A sketch in oils by Karl Anton Hickel was painted in 1793 or 1794, as part of his preparation for the large painting entitled "The House of Commons", in which E.J. Eliot can be seen seated on a bench behind the standing William Pitt. The oil sketch has not been seen publicly since a 2002 art auction, and its current whereabouts are unknown.
Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire possesses a set of 1781 silhouettes depicting Edward and Catherine Eliot and their two older sons. Edward James is shown in a tricorne hat.
The latest portrait added to the list is actually another piece in the collection at Port Eliot. By an unknown artist, the large darkened picture was painted in the 1760s and shows Edward James as a curly-headed boy with a large dog and a wooden top.
As for the Saints who are in the earth,
they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.