Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Holland, James

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HOLLAND, JAMES (1800–1870), water-colour painter, was born at Burslem, 17 Oct. 1800, where his father and other members of his family were employed at the pottery works of William Davenport. He was himself employed at an early age in painting flowers on pottery and porcelain, and came to London in 1819 to practise as a flower-painter, and to give lessons in drawing landscape, architecture, and marine subjects. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1824, and in 1830 he visited France and made studies of its architecture. In 1823 he exhibited a picture of ‘London from Blackheath.’ In 1835 he became an associate exhibitor of the (now Royal) Society of Painters in Water-colours, but he left the society in 1843, and joined the (now Royal) Society of British Artists, of which he remained a member till 1848. He rejoined the Water-colour Society in 1856, and was elected a full member two years afterwards. He was much employed in drawing for the illustrated annuals, and for this purpose he visited Venice, Milan, Geneva, and Paris in 1836, and Portugal in 1838. In 1839 he exhibited at the Royal Academy a fine painting of Lisbon. In 1845 he went to Rotterdam, in 1850 to Normandy and North Wales, in 1851 again to Geneva, and in 1857 again to Venice. In the South Kensington Museum are a series of sketches in Portugal dated 1847, from which it would appear that he visited that country a second time. In the course of his life he exhibited, in addition to his contributions to the Water-colour Society, thirty-two pictures at the Royal Academy, ninety-one at the British Institution, and one hundred and eight at the Society of British Artists. Though generally classed as a water-colour painter, he was equally skilful in oils. He was one of the finest colourists of the English school, and his pictures, especially those of Venice, though neglected in his lifetime, are now eagerly sought for and fetch large prices. He appears to have ceased to exhibit in 1857. He died 12 Dec. 1870. At Greenwich Hospital there is a picture by him of Greenwich, and at the South Kensington Museum are two small oil pictures and a few water-colours, but there is no fine example of his work in the national collections.

[Redgrave's Dict.; Bryan's Dict. (Graves); Graves's Dict.; Catalogues of South Kensington Museum.]

C. M.