James Hare (1747-1804) was the second son of Joseph Hare, an apothecary at Wells, and his wife, Frances. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he met Charles James Fox, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle and William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire whose friendship gave him entry to the Whig society of Devonshire House. He served as MP for Stockbridge from 1772-1774 and was minister-plenipotentiary in Poland but resigned in 1780. He later served as MP for Knaresborough in the interest of the Duke of Devonshire from 1781 until his death. He married Hannah (d. 1827), only daughter of Sir Abraham Hume, Bt, whose fortune increased his presence at the gaming tables. He died in Bath in 1804 having suffered an asthma attack in Paris in 1802 where he was imprisoned following the resumption of war with Britain in 1803.
A miniature of James Hare by Anne Mee, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., the reverse engraved with a poem written by the Duke of Devonshire on Hare’s death, was sold in The Tony Banks Collection; Political Art and Memorabilia Belonging to the late Lord Stratford at Bonhams, London, 3 May 2007, lot 65A.