Executed in pencil, watercolour and gouache, the portrait miniature was donated by a descendent of the wider Harshaw family, Marjorie Harshaw-Robie, who lives in America and will go on display in the Museum in Spring 2024.

James Harshaw (1797–1867) was a farmer in Donaghmore, an elder in Donaghmore Presbyterian Church and Treasurer of Donaghmore Dispensary. He is famous for his diaries which provide a vivid and informative account of life in the area from the 1830s to the 1860s. The diaries record daily farming activities and practices and reflect the impact of the Great Famine in the area, emigration and the Evangelical Revival of 1859.

Commenting on the donation, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Valerie Harte said, “I would like to thank Marjorie Harshaw-Robie sincerely for her generosity in donating this wonderful portrait to the Museum. James Harshaw played an important role in local Poor Relief during the Great Famine and I am delighted that he is now represented in the Museum Collection.”

When making the donation, Marjorie Harshaw-Robie said, “I have always believed that treasures belong in the place they were created. The diaries show just how interconnected James Harshaw was with Newry. So, when I learned about the drawing of James and was able to acquire it, Newry and Mourne Museum seemed the natural place for it to be.”


Newry and Mourne Museum Curator, Dr Ken Abraham added, “This donation is a significant milestone for the Museum as we seek to tell the story of the Great Famine in the Newry and Mourne area in our exhibitions. The portrait will be displayed along with material relating to John Martin, an Irish Patriot, and James Harshaw’s nephew and close friend.”