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Biography

James Stark (19 November 1794 – 24 March 1859) was an English landscape painter. A leading member of the Norwich School of painters, he was elected Vice-President of the Norwich Society of Artists in 1828 and their President in 1829. He had wealthy patrons and was consistently praised by the Norfolk press for his successful London career.

Stark was born in Norwich, the youngest son of a dye manufacturer, Michael Stark, who is credited with the invention of the dye known as 'Norwich red'. In 1811, on the completion of his education at Norwich School, he was apprenticed to John Crome, whose influence on his pupil was profound. Stark’s work was exhibited in London as early as 1811 and at the British Institution between 1814 and 1818. In 1814 he moved away from Norwich to London, where he befriended the artist William Collins. In 1819 ill health forced him to return to Norwich, where lived for twenty years. In 1840 he moved to Windsor, where he lived for a decade, continuing to produce landscapes. He returned to London in 1849, residing there until his death in 1859 at the age of 64. He is buried with his family in the Rosary Cemetery in Norwich.

Stark generally worked in oils. His early paintings were followed by woodland scenes, which were often pastiches of the seventeenth century Dutch masters. His work during the 1830s was more successful, with his works displaying a freshness that was previously lacking. Stark produced etchings, watercolours and pencil and chalk drawings, but these are nowadays less well known. In 1834 he published his admired Scenery of the Rivers of Norfolk, containing thirty-six etchings produced by specialist engravers after his own paintings, along with accompanying text for each scene. This ambitious work was well-received at the time, but like similar works it was financially unsuccessful.

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Artworks

James Stark Woody Landscape

date not known

Features

Norwich school

Norwich school were an important British early nineteenth regional school of landscape painting

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