James H. Craig portrait

James Humbert Craig RHA RUA 1877-1944

James Craig the artist was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1877 to a well to do tea merchant Alexander Craig and his Swiss wife Marie. He spent his youth in the countryside of Country Down.


Craig’s first paintings were done on plywood cut from the tea chests of the family business. He briefly attended the Belfast College of Art, studying drawing and fine painting, however he didn’t even finish his first term there. James Craig is as such a self taught painter who took all of his inspiration from the scenery, people, and culture of Ireland – above all, from what he saw with his own eyes. He never attempted to embellish or distort nature. As a landscape painter, James felt that his job was to reflect nature as it was. However, despite this fidelity to nature, he was not above dramatizing his landscape painting in the style of Paul Henry. Also, despite his indifference to Barbizon landscape art, James’ plein air painting method was similar to that of the Impressionists, as he was at his happiest out-of-doors either painting or fishing. Many of his colour schemes are consciously sober and the raw beauty of the landscape is expressed in rugged paintwork. James painted in many different locations, including the Glens of County Antrim, as well as the more inhospitable coastal landscapes of Donegal, Kerry and Galway.


A hugely successful painter of his day and now recognised as one of Irelands finest landscape painters, James Craig exhibited regularly at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin from 1915 and was elected to both the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and the Royal Ulster Academy. He also exhibited at the Fine Art Society in London.  His work was also part of the painting event at the 1932 Summer Olympics..He was an avid fisherman and an ccomplished violinist who was a member of the Belfast Philharmonic Orchestra. James Craig died in Ireland in 1944.


  • Royal Hibernian Academy
  • Royal Ulster Academy
  • The Royal Institute of Fine Arts, Glasgow
  • The Royal Scottish Academy
  • Victor Waddington Gallery Dublin
  • The Magee Gallery Belfast
  • Olympic Art Exhibition Los Angelus 1932
  • The Royal Academy
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters London


  • National Gallery of Ireland
  • The Crawford Gallery, Cork
  • St Patricks College, Maynooth
  • Queens University Collection, Belfast
  • The Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin
  • The Craig Room, Bangor Town Hall
  • The Ulster Museum


Fine Art Prints published by Frost and Reed , London & The Combridge Gallery, Dublin