His father was Isaac Basire (1704-1768), a map maker, his son (1769-1822) and grandson (1796-1869) were also named James; these four generations of Basires were all engravers. Their longetivity produced overlapping careers, which has led to difficulties in attribution of some works.A member of the Society of Antiquaries, James Basire specialized in prints depicting architecture.James Basire (Britannica.com). His studio was on Great Queen Street in London. His appointment as engraver to the society, as were all three generations, and much of his finest work is found in Vetusta Monumenta. A major piece was his copperplate for Field of the Cloth of Gold, an exquisitely detailed reproduction of a watercolour by Edward Edwards; this oversize historical print was issued on 'Antiquarian' paper. Excellent work also appeared in Gough's Sepulchral Monuments.
Work by Basire hangs in museums and galleries around the world, including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand, the National Library of Australia in Canberra, and the National Portrait Gallery, London.James Basire on Artcyclopedia
On 4 August 1772, William Blake was apprenticed to Basire for the term of seven years. There is no record of any serious disagreement or conflict between the two during the period of Blake's apprenticeship. However, Peter Ackroyd's biography notes that Blake was later to add Basire's name to a list of artistic adversaries—and then cross it out.43, Blake, Peter Ackroyd, Sinclair-Stevenson, 1995
He assisted in the production of Stuart's Athens and engraved several good portraits of eminent men. He died in London. Among his other works were:
Amongst Basire's apprentices was George Cooke (1781-1834).Click here to hide this biography