Biographical information on this skilled British marine artist to date remains elusive. Prolific in his output of quality sea pictures. Paintings by David James have been favorably compared to the best works of Henry Moore and John Brett. Today their value is considered beyond those of both these popular British sea painters.
Born in Cornwall and working almost exclusively in oils, James preferred the familiar coastal locations in England’s west country and around the Scilly Isles for his paintings. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881-1889 from a Cumberland address, and for the period of 1892-1897 from a London address.
His best paintings are considered those showing the sea from the shore, leaning more towards a realistic rather than impressionist execution of his subject. His vessels, although well drawn, were often of secondary importance in his compositions, as he preferred capturing strong marine atmosphere and dramatic coastal lighting.