A large seascape painting by David James (British, 1853-1904)

By James, David (British, 1853-1904)


This beautiful seascape is by David James, a British artist known for his exceptional marine paintings, and stunning depictions of crashing waves.


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Born in Ireland, with his real name 'Joseph Donahue,' the artist we know as David James was a British marine painter, active from 1872 onwards, who made a name for himself as an artist who almost exclusively painted marine landscapes, painting a number of superb works of the waves off the coast of Cornwall such as this.

Exhibiting at the Royal Academy on multiple occasions from 1886 to 1897, James gravitated towards depictions of the sea after time spent in Yorkshire, and crashing waves became a signature of his oeuvre. His mature works depict the sea off the South-west coast of England, in Cornwall and Scilly. Working in oil-on-canvas, he rendered the power of the ocean and the atmosphere of the southern coast with an unrivalled talent and skill.

This particular painting is a superbly vibrant and bright image of the southern English sea. James, like the artist Henry Moore was fascinated with the sea in its own right, generally avoiding adding ships or too many figures, focusing instead on the dynamics of the waves and the way they rolled and crashed against the rocks, as shown here with superb detail and realism. The beautiful warm blue of the water is complemented by the green of the cliffs in the background, and a charming set of small ships in the distance complete the composition.

Depicting Carn Voel Head, Mill Bay, Cornwall, in Oil-on-canvas in a carved giltwood frame, it is signed and dated lower right 'D. James (18)87', with a dedication plaque to the frame and titled to the reverse.

Frame: height 80cm, width 143cm, depth 6cm
Canvas: height 64cm, width 125cm, depth 0.5cm


Artist / Maker
By James, David (British, 1853-1904)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Landscape, Marine / Seascape, Victorian
Oil on Canvas
Blue, Multi-coloured


80 cm / 31.5 inches
143 cm / 56.3 inches
6 cm / 2.4 inches


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