PEEL, James

1811 - 1906

Born at Westage Road, Newcastle-on-Tyne on 1 July and baptised at St John, Newcastle on 28 July 1811, son of Thomas Peel, woollen draper (died 24 April 1822), partner in the firm of Fenwick, Reid & Co., and his wife Elizabeth née Martinson. Educated at Bruce's School, Newcastle where Alexander Dalziel, father of the wood engravers the Dalziel Brothers, first taught him drawing. In 1840 he came to London as a portrait painter and amongst his early work were full-sized copies of Wilkie's 'Blind Fiddler' and 'The Village Festival' now in the National Gallery, as well as portraits and miniatures. He then decided to confine himself wholly to landscape painting which he exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1843 to 1888 and at the Royal Society of British Artists from 1845 onwards. He exhibited at the Suffolk Fine Art Association [q.v.] at Ipswich in 1850, four works 'Canal View, Yorkshire', 'Showery Day: Banks of a River', 'In Wensley Dale, Yorkshire' and 'Todmorden Vale'. His pictures made their mark by their feeling for nature and excellent drawing, especially of trees and three of his works, 'A Lane in Berwickshire,' 'Cotherstone, Yorkshire,' and 'Pont-y-pant, Wales,' are now in the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, where a loan exhibition of his works was held in 1907. He lived at Darlington 1848-1857, when he returned to London. In 1861 admitted a member of the Royal Society of British Artists, of which he became a leading supporter and with Ford Madox Brown, William Bell Scott and other artists, an organiser of 'free' exhibitions like those of the Dudley Gallery and of the Portland Gallery. Working to the end, He continued working until his death at his home, Elms Lodge, Oxford Road, Reading, on 28 January 1906. Peel married at Darlington, on 30 May 1849, Sarah Martha, eldest daughter of Thomas Blyth, and left issue.

Works by This Artist