Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Hare, Augustus John Cuthbert

HARE, AUGUSTUS JOHN CUTHBERT (1834–1903), author, born on 13 March 1834, at the Villa Strozzi, Rome, was youngest son in a large family of Francis George Hare of Hurstmonceaux, Sussex, by his wife Anne Frances, daughter of Sir John Dean Paul of Rodborough. Augustus Hare [q. v.] and Julius Hare [q. v.] were his uncles. In August 1835 he was adopted by his godmother, Maria, daughter of Oswald Leycester, rector of Stoke-upon-Tern, Shropshire, and widow of his uncle, Augustus Hare, his parents renouncing all further claim upon him. Educated first at Harnish Rectory (1843–6) he was sent in 1847 to Harrow, but ill-health compelled him to leave in the following year. He then studied under private tutors till 1853, when he matriculated at University College, Oxford, graduating B.A. in 1857. After residence abroad, mostly in Italy, from June 1857 till November 1858, he returned to England. In the following year he undertook for John Murray a handbook of 'Berks. Bucks and Oxfordshire' (1860). A 'Handbook to Durham,' in the same series, followed in 1863. His adoptive mother's failing health then made residence in a warm climate necessary, and, except for occasional visits to England, he remained abroad, mostly in Italy and the Riviera, from 1863 till Juno 1870. In November of that year his adoptive mother died, and he sought to perpetuate her memory in 'Memorials of a Quiet Life' (3 vols. 1872–6). The book subsequently ran into eighteen editions, and inaugurated a series of biographies written by him in the same mildly deferential key.

Hare mainly devoted his literary energy to the compilation of guide-books, material for which he gained in foreign tours. He sought to avoid the habitual conciseness and dryness of the ordinary guide-book, and mainly aimed at gathering up 'what had already been given to the world in a less portable form' (Walks in Rome, p. 3). The fruit of his own observation was combined with extracts from other books, often more copious than was justifiable. Freeman charged Hare with appropriating in 'Cities of Northern and Central Italy' (3 vols. 1876) articles of his in the 'Saturday Review.' He was accused, too, of copying 'Murray's Handbook to Northern Italy,' and was involved in consequence in legal proceedings. But despite these complaints Hare's practice remained unaltered.

Hare was also an artist of some power in water-colour, and he illustrated many of his own works. An exhibition of his water-colour sketches took place in London in the autumn of 1902.

In the latter part of his life Hare acquired a residence at Holmhurst, St. Leonards-on-Sea, where he collected books and pictures. He was a devotee of fashionable culture, and when in England much of his time was spent in visiting country-houses, where he was well known as a raconteur of ghost stories. His large circle of distinguished friends included Oscar II, King of Sweden, who decorated him with the order of St. Olaf in 1878. His 'The Story of My Life' (6 vols. 1896–1900), a long, tedious, and indiscreet autobiography, owed its vogue to its 'stories' of society. He died unmarried on 22 Jan. 1903 at Holmhurst, and was buried at Hurstmonceaux, Sussex.

Hare also published: 1. 'Epitaphs for Country Churchyards,' Oxford, 1856. 2. 'A Winter in Mentone,' 1862, 12mo. 3. 'Walks in Rome,' 2 vols. 1871; 17th edit. 1905. 4. 'Wanderings in Spain,' 1873. 6. 'Days near Rome,' 1875; 4th edit. 1906. 6. 'Walks in London,' 2 vols. 1878 ; 7th edit. 1901. 7. 'Life and Letters of Frances Baroness Bunsen,' 2 vols. 1878; 3rd edit. 1882. 8. 'Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily,' Edinburgh, 1883. 9. 'Florence,' 1884; 6th edit. 1904. 10. 'Venice,' 1884; 6th edit. 1904. 11. 'Cities of Central Italy,' 2 vols. 1884. 12. 'Cities of Northern Italy,' 2 vols. 1884. 13. 'Sketches in Holland and Scandinavia,' 1885. 14. 'Studies in Russia,' 1885. 15. 'Days near Paris,' 1887. 16. 'Paris,' 1887; 2nd edit., 2 vols., 1900. 17. 'North Eastern France,' 1890. 18. 'South Eastern France,' 1890. 19. 'South Western France,' 1890. 20. 'The Story of Two Noble Lives, Charlotte, Countess Canning, and Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford,' 3 vols. 1893. 21. 'Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth,' 2 vols., 1894. 22. 'Sussex,' 1894. 23. 'North Western France,' 1895. 24. 'Biographical Sketches,' 1895. 25. 'The Gurneys of Earlham,' 2 vols. 1895. 26. 'The Rivieras,' 1896. 27. 'Shropshire,' 1898.

[The Athenæum, 31 Jan. 1903; The Times, 23, 27, and 28 Jan. 1903; The Story of My Life, 6 vols., 1896–1900; Who's Who, 1903.]

S. E. F.