Around 1880, Tomas Harris’s father, Lionel Harris, joined his father William Harris in South America (Chile or Peru),  to work with him in the textile business.

Today the Courtauld Institute has a collection of Tomas Harris’s textiles that once belonged to his father. 

In 1891, at his fathers suggestion Lionel moved to Spain. He traded as a diamond merchant for a short while. In 1892 Lionel had two business addresses for his new company,  L.Harris & Co. , one in Madrid and one in London (35 Hatton Gardens) but he was no longer a diamond dealer. He had begun dealing with antiques, art and jewellery instead.

By 1896 Lionel Harris still had his business in Madrid, but moved his London business from 35 to 23 Hatton Gardens and opened another gallery at 127 Regent Street. Lionel had built up stock by extracting silver articles and other valuables from ecclesiastical and monastic sources in Spain. He exhibited his stock in a Spanish Art Exhibition at his New Regent Street Gallery, showing 16th/17th century embroideries, jewellery, rugs, and vases.

Enriqueta Rodriquez Leon and Conchita HarrisLionels marriage to Enriqueta was registered in Spain in February 1898, and 9 or 10 months  later their first child, Conchita was born, in London.  Around 1900 Lionel moved his Madrid business to London because his family was growing quickly. His home was at 21 Lymington Road, Hampstead.

Spanish Art Gallery 50 Conduit StreetBy 1901 Lionel’s Gallery was at 44  Conduit Street, off Bond Street in London. 

In 1902 Lionel had another business address at 32 St James’ Street.

In 1907 Lionel opened the Spanish Art Gallery at 50 Conduit Street with an exhibition of works by the Catalan artist Joseph Cusachs.

By 1911,  Lionel and Enriqueta had 7 children including Tomas Harris born in 1908. There were four boys and three girls.Lionel Enriqueta and their seven Children

In 1906 Lionel was selling to the newly founded Hispanic Society of America in New York, and between 1910 and 1920 he was selling sculptures, rare textiles, carpets and other works to the Victoria and Albert Museum, and dealing in early Spanish paintings and El Greco.

Between 1923 and 1926, Tomas Harris at the age of 15,  won a scholarship trained as an artist at the Slade School of Art.Tomas Harris - Slade Schiool, of Art 1923 - 1926 Tomas Harris - Slade Schiool, of Art 1923 - 1926 Tomas Harris - Slade Schiool, of Art 1923 - 1926 Tomas Harris - Slade Schiool, of Art 1923 - 1926

 

Then Tomas spent a year in Rome at the British Academy.

He returned to the Slade School of Art after World War II to study Goya, and wrote a two volume book – Goya Prints and Lithographs

By the late 1920’s Tomas Harris, Lionel’s youngest son, had galleries of his own, first in Sackville Street, then at 29 Bruton Street.

29 Bruton Street.Tomas Harris Ltd,  29 Bruton Street  29 Bruton Street.

 

Soon after (also in the late 1920’s)  three of Lionel’s four sons (Lionel junior, Maurice and Tomas of course) had joined Lionel Senior as directors of the Spanish Art Gallery (50 Conduit Street), Kent Road Gallery (44 Conduit Street), and Tomas Harris Ltd (29 Bruton Street).

   Tomas Harris Ltd -29 Bruton Street

Although Tomas had an amazing talent and continued to paint and exhibit his work throughout his life, the family’s dealing in works of art stimulated his interest in collecting too. He began by seeking out prints and drawings by the two Tiepolos, Dürer and Rembrandt, and then turned his attention to Goya., building up an unrivalled collection of the various editions of the Spanish artist’s major series of prints and lithographs, and studying rare states of the etchings.

In the 1930s Tomas organised two exhibitions of exceptional quality with major works by Velázquez, Ribera, Zurbarán and Goya and  had shown great ability to expand the Spanish Art Gallery business even further.

 

Exhibition of Spanish Masters at 29 Bruton Street - June 1931

 

DSCN1654In 1931 Tomas Harris organised the Exhibition of Old Masters by Spanish Artists (Velázquez, Ribera, Zurbarán and Goya) at the Galleries of Tomas Harris Ltd, 29, Bruton Street, London W 1.june 9th 1931 Exhibition of Old Masters opened by Spanish Ambasador 

Tomas Harris requested the honor of the presence of the Spanish Ambasador, who opened the exhibition on the 9th of June 1931 

 

 

 

 

And in 1938 Tomas organised the exhibition From Greco to Goya, Tomas Harris Ltd, The Spanish Art Gallery. 6, Chesterfield Gardens.

 

 

Chesterfield Gardens

Chesterfield GardensChesterfield Gardens

During the war, Tomas Harris lived at Chesterfield Gardens in the Mayfair area. Lionel Harris died in 1943, and Tomas who was uniquely suited, inherited Chesterfield Gardens and the Spanish Art Gallery.  During the war Tomas and Hilda (his wife) would give grand parties at Chesterfield Gardens, to their friends in high places in the art world and the secret service (MI5 and MI6/SIS) .

Also during the war in 1943 (Anthony Blunt’s words) Tomas  held a one-man show at the galleries of Reid and Lefèvre in King Street. After the war he gradually freed himself from his commitments as a dealer and spent more and more time in Spain, first at Malaga and then in Majorca where he designed and built a house at Camp de Mar. Here he was able to paint as much as he wanted, and he also experimented with making ceramics and stained glass and designing tapestries, three of which were woven at the royal tapestry factory at Madrid. His great versatility enabled him to master all the technical problems involved in these activities with astonishing ease.

War years -Tomas moved from Chesterfield Gardens to here - Garden Lodge In 1948 Tomas moved the Spanish Art Gallery to Garden Lodge, Logan Place, Kensington, W8, and Tomas owned that property and the house at Camp de Mar in Mallorca until he died in 1964. The Garden Lodge at Logan Place became,  many years after Tomas’s death, the home of the singer Freddy Mercury (Queen).

 

After the war Tomas returned to the Slade School of Art to study the engravings of Goya. His teacher was John Buckland Wright, a famous illustrator (from New Zealand). Tomas and his brother Maurice had actively tried to sell work from their father’s stock to major museums. It has been said that Tomás was ‘evidently trying to wind up his business’ then.   And it may be that the stimulus to create, fostered by his house in Majorca, and his Goya collecting and the preparation of his Goya print catalogue left little time for dealing and selling.

After Tomas’s death in 1964, Anthony Blunt organised an exhibition of Tomas’s art work at the Courtauld Institute (in 1975) and Antony’s introduction in the Exhibitions cataloge was a great summary of Tomas’s life (I will post the words sometime). After the exhibition, much of Tomas’s art was gifted to many  Museums around Spain and also some to Australia where Tomas also had friends in the art world. 

Cacti - Cartoon for a tapestry - Tomas HarrisA tapestry called Cacti – Cartoon for a tapestry,  one of only three woven at the Royal Factory in Madrid was gifted to the National Gallery of Victoria ,  in Melbourne, Australia (Founded in 1861). It was gifted to the gallery, by his three very generous sisters, Conchita, Violeta, and Enriqueta Harris, most likely because Tomas had been very good friends of the Director there.

During Tomas’s life he had become very well connected with many Museum directors and curators in the art world of Europe, America and Australia.

Please enter your email address to receive emails of NEW posts when added to www.anitaharrisfamily.co.uk
Share

London’s British Museum now has the most complete representation of Goya’s prints of any public collection, thanks to the acquisition of the ‘Tomas Harris Goya Print collection’ also known as the ‘Goya Inheritance’.  

This collection is available for viewing and study in the British Museum in London.

The British Museum in London had not made  any Goya acquisitions since 1878 until the formal arrival of Tomas Harris Goya Inheritance in 1979.  Tomas’s Goya collection along with his two volume ‘Goya, Engravings and Lithographs’ published shortly after his death in 1964 are considered to be Tomas’s greatest contribution as collector and scholar to the field of Goya’s graphic art. 

In 1962 Tomas organised a very successfull  exhibition at the British Museum, which was almost entirely resourced from his own collection. The catalogue which contains an introduction by Sir Anthony Blunt,  can be viewed  in my ‘Tomas Harris’s Catalogue gallery’ <- click link to view the gallery

Tomas Harris’s ambition was to acquire a complete collection of ‘everything that had been taken from Goya’s copperplates’. 

Shortly after the war Tomas returned to the Slade school of Art for his second time. The first time was between 1923 and 1926

when Tomas had won a scholarship at the early age of 16).  My ‘Tomas Harris Art Gallery’ contains Engravings made by Tomas during both of these periods. To assist Tomas further in his study of Goyas techniques, such as etchings, the use of the burin, needle or drypoint,  lavis, and a variety of aquatint techniques, Tomas took up printmaking and experimented with a variety of techniques.

Tomas Harris became a famous artist in his own right,  view My ‘Tomas Harris Art Gallery’ which contains many more of his engravings and lots more other works of art including paintings, glass windows, pottery, ceramics,  sculptures and lithographs, all made by Tomas Harris.

View ‘More information about the Tomas and the Goya Print Collection at Londons British Museum’  <– here

Share

This website has just enabled me to make contact with a new member of the Harris family who was up until today unknown to me.

Firstly, just a few days ago, I was contacted by David Moore,  who came across my website The Harris Family while surfing the net for information about Tomas Harris (my grandfathers brother).  David had recently developed a keen interest in Tomas and his Art andhe  informed me that he went to an exhibition of Tomas’s Art in Majorca in August just this year (2009).  He informed me that the organiser was  of Lumen Publishing and that he knew an incredible amount about Tomas, that his family live in the house that Tomas owned in Mallorca at Camp de Mar, and that he  is writing a biograhpy about Tomas Harris.  He also told me that there was a speaker at the exhibition whose name he did not remember, but that he knew that this speaker was related to Tomas (and is therefore also related to me) and that  he gave a very moving and emotional speech about Tomas and his life of Art.

I decided I needed to spend time trying to locate both the organiser and this relative of Tomas who gave the speech. I searched the internet for hours without luck, contact details are impossible to find.. so i added some text to Tomas’s post on my site requesting that anyone who him, that  they try to get him to contact me – so I waited.

David Moore also sent me some lovely pictures of some of Tomas’s Paintings which I have added to my photo gallery called Tomas Harris’s Art Gallery on this website. David also sent me an interesting link for Tomas’s Art exhibition in Mallorca – Andratx segon Harris (pdf).

My waiting paid off , incredibly quickly. Just  today, the organiser contacted me through my website.  He introduced himself as the being the one I was looking for in my posting. I was delighted. Oh the wonders of the internet!  He explained that he has been researching the life of Tomas Harris (and his family) for many years and is writing his biography . He says Tomas Harris was a fascinating character: an art dealer, a scholar, a collector, a spy…organiser lives in Barcelona, but  was born in Majorca where his family now owns ‘El Estudio Harris’ in Camp de Mar, the wonderful house of Tomas Harris and his wife Hilda Harris.  Tomas lived there from 1948 until his death in 1964, but he had a house in London too: Garden Lodge in Logan Place (London), which many years later became the home of the singer Freddy Mercuri (Queen). Andreu tells me you can feel Tomas in the House in  Majorca and can feel his shadow wandering in the garden. The  grandparents and his mother and his sister? were  very good friends with Tomas, so when he died in a car accident they decided to buy the estate. He grew up with the legend of Tommy Harris by his side. Five years ago he decided to put together all the information he had been gathering and is writing a biography about a man quite unknown to the world, and to whom we all are indebted to, for his work during the Second World War. Eissenhower himself met Tomas to thank him personally for his brilliant job in MI5 (See posts below about Tomas and Garbo the double spy in World War II).  Andreu also told  me he had the honor to meet Enriqueta (my Great Aunt, Tomas’s sister, also my grandfathers sister) at her home in South Kensington. He says she was a very clever, cultivated and charming old lady whom he worshipped. Also that Tomas had a wonderful relationship with his three sisters (Enriqueta, Conchita and Violetta) but not so good with his brothers (Lionel, William and Maurice). He was not on speaking terms with Lionel, for instance.

The exhibition of Tomas’ paintings which was held in Camp de Mar, this August (2009)  in Majorca and it was successful. Andreu  had  invited José  to speak at the exhibition. Andreu has given me Jose’s email address and we are in emailing daily. Jose is supplying me with a mountain of information and photographs for which I am very grateful. This information has enabled me to determine that Jose’s mother a Rodriguez was a cousin of Tomas Harris and also a niece of my great grandmother Enriqueta (Esther)  Rodriguez Leon.   This makes Jose my fathers second cousin.  I have just today (19/12/09) added plenty of NEW people and additional details to my ever growing family tree… Please click here to view -> Descendents of Leon now includes my father- Ronald Harris . It was suggested that  Tomas and Jose were very close, like brothers and Jose has the archive of Tomas and Enriqueta.  Jose knows everything about the family. Andreu informed me that he knew that Jose had  gone to meet William Harris, my grandfather, at his antique shop in North Wales in the seventies.

Andreu also sent me some photos that I also have already added to Tomas’s art gallery on this website.

Now best of all, is, that Andreu copied Jose  on his email to me. Jose being the man who Andreu had speaking at the exhibition of Tomas’s art in Majorca, the man who went to Wales to visit William Harris my grandfather in the seventies (who my father had  thought had died during the war until a few months ago), the man who knew Tomas Harris like a brother, and  also the man who is a son ‘of a spanish cousin of my grandfather’.  I have so many qeustions…

And to top it all…. as a direct result of Andreu copying Jose on his email to me, I received my first email from Jose with lots of photos of members of the HARRIS family I never knew existed until today. I have just also added them to  Tomas’s art gallery …

The story will continue… but for now… thats it..  Actually, thats not all it. Today is the 12december2009, and as a result of emailing with Jose, I have discovered that he has a sister who also knew my grandfather and that a best friend of his, David Davies, who lives in London, also knew my grandfather,  Enriqueta Harris, and also Tomas Harris. This world is getting smaller, and my family albums and family tree are getting bigger. My family tree today has 111 people..  Thank you.. for all your information.. There is so much more out there to learn…

Share

MR TOMAS HARRIS – SPANISH ART

In 1964, Sir Anthony Blunt wrote :-

Mr. Tomas Harris, who was killed in a road accident in Majorca on Monday(27th January 1964), was well known to evryone in the art world in London and Madrid. His father Lionel Harris, founded the Spanish Art Galleries more than half a century ago and although Tomas himself wanted to become a painter,  and won a scholarship to the Slade at the age of 16, he abandoned this career in order to join the firm and help his father.

Almost every important work of art to come from Spain to England during the half-century went through the hands of either the father or the son and one could be certain at any time of seeing in the galleries, masterpieces by El Greco or the other great Spanish painters, as well as carpets and other objects of art of the particlualr kinds in which Spain was so rich. Tomas had an uncanny instinct for discovering works of art in unexpected places, and one of his most important acquisitions a series of fifteenth-century  German panels which had once been in the National Gallery – were bought among the contents of an outhouse at a country sale. To his energy and acumen were added the most rigid integrity in all matters of business and the greatest generosity in questions of scholarship: his pictures and his great knowledge were available to the humblest student as well as to the expert or potential buyer.

During the war he ws attached to the War office (in MI5) where his special qualifications and his astonishing imagination enabled him to do work of the highest value to the Allied cause, which won him great commendation from those in high places who were in a position to judge it.

After the war instead of returning to the art trade he devoted himself to painting and held successful exhibitions in London, New York, Madrid and Barcelona. For his last 10 years he lived mainly in Majorca and devoted much time to the scholarship of art history. He lived long enough to witness the triumpant success of the exhibition of etchings by Goya which he organized at the British Museum, almost entirely from the resources of his own collection and to see the first rough copy of his complete catalogue of these etchings which is due to be published in the near future and which will revolutionize our idea of Goya’s acheivment as an engraver.

 

Share

I recently discovered my family tree. All I knew until last year was the name of my grandfather. Now I know so much more. Check out the Harris family tree  on Tribalpages website, and see my family connections  to Artists, Art Dealers, MI5, Garbo, Double Spies in World War II. OBE’s and books and Art Historians, and Antique Dealers, Diamond Dealers ..and the list goes on….

I have just been reading two books “Garb0” and the “Spy who Saved D-day”.   The first written by MI5’s double agent spy, Garbo himself, and the second written by my fathers Uncle, Tomas Harris who was Garbo’s MI5 Case officer/Controller during World War II.  Together these books tell the true story of how they came to work together for Britain and began the beginning of the end of the War.

The first Book, the one called ‘GARBO’– was written mostly MI5’s double Agent called Juan Pujol (codenamed GARBO) along with an author called Nigel West, who found him in hiding in Venezuela, and encouraged him to come back safely back to Britain for the 40th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings, to meet old colleagues from MI5 and be introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh . The book tells the personal story of the most successful double agent EVER and his MI5 controller/case officer who directed, channelled, encouraged and sustained the agents remarkable talents.

This case officer was Tomas Harris – my Great Uncle.

The second book I am reading is called ‘ The Spy who saved D-Day – (view large chunks of this book online here) ’ and was mostly written by Tomas Harris.

Both books describe  how GARBO and Tomas came to work together at MI5, and their three years of scheming and planning together during World War II. They tell a detailed story of their efforts which were supported by various agencies of British intelligence and of how they contributed to a huge reduction of casualties among tens of thousands of allied servicemen who landed in Normandy in France on D-Day to fight to hold the Normandy Beachheads. Many, many more would have perished had their plan failed. They devised a plan to build a network (The GARBO Network) which was eventually composed of 27 imaginary characters, to mislead the Germans into expecting the landings to occur in Calais and maintain all their forces there, instead of moving them to Normandy. Their other activities in MI5 also embraced campaigns in North Africa and the V-weapon offensives.

On this site are other posts that I have written, in Note form, which are facts from the two books and contain details about some individuals mentioned in the two book, Mostly Garbo and Thomas Harris. These posts contain notes which I want to share with the rest of my immediate family and are relevant to expanding their knowledge about our Harris family which we knew absolutely nothing about until about a year ago.

—————— LINKS —————–

(D-Day 6/6/1944)  – (view Link)

Marks the start of Europe invasion in Normandy, France – during World War II

MI5 (view Link)

was responsible for counter-espionage intelligence within the UK

MI6/SIS (view Link)

Secret Intelligence service for counter-espionage intelligence in foreign countries.

Garbo (view Post)

Spanish Agent Worked as a Double Spy for MI5 in Britain, when the Germans were so convinced he was a German spy, that they awarded him the Iron Cross

Tomas Harris (view Post)

MI5 Case Officer/Controller who worked with GARBO to create the GARBO network of 27 imaginary spies who mislead the Germans into thinking the invasion would occur in Calais instead of on the Normandy beachheads.

Anthony Blunt (view Post)

 at MI5 B1(b)- An Art historian workedduring the war, who was knighted then suspected of being a Soviet spy Agent which resulted in his knighthood being annulled.

Share
 Page 2 of 3 « 1  2  3 »