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James Campbell

James Campbell (1823 - 1893) was Liverpool-born genre and landscape painter

James Campbell (1828-93) was a Liverpool-born painter of landscapes and genre scenes. He was the son of a Liverpool insurance clerk. As a young artist he was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, but was mostly interested in their painting techniques. Campbell was less concerned with the moral subjects they favoured. He developed his own individualistic painting style. He studied at London’s Royal Academy Schools and the Liverpool Academy from 1851. Campbell regularly exhibited in Liverpool, and was a familiar figure in the town. In his 1904 book about the Liverpool School of artists, H C Marillier (1865 - 1951) identified Campbell as a regular at the artistic parties thrown by the art collector John Miller (about 1796 - 1876).

Campbell appears to have abandoned landscape in the mid- to late 1850s in favour of scenes of everyday life. The quality of his work was praised by art reviewers, but he was also criticised for painting ugly rather than beautiful subject matter. His minutely detailed genre paintings show his sympathy towards impoverished, disadvantaged people. In the 1860s Campbell moved to London with the aim of boosting his prospects. Although he continued to exhibit, and broadened his style and subject matter, his career failed to take off. Later in life the quality of his work deteriorated as his eyesight failed. Campbell died in Birkenhead in 1893.

Campbell exhibited 37 works at the Liverpool Academy between 1845 and 1864, and four at the Liverpool Institution of Fine Arts between 1863 and 1865. John Miller was one of his most generous patrons.
  • Gender
    Male
  • Relationship
    Artist/maker
  • Nationality
    British: English
  • Born
    1823-02-17 possibly
  • Place of birth
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: Scotland: Lanarkshire: Glasgow
  • Died
    1893-12-25
  • Place of death
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Merseyside: Wirral: Birkenhead
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
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