James Chambury (1927–1994) was born in the
East End of London, one of his mother’s thirteen
surviving children. Mired in the poverty of the
Great Depression the family disintegrated, with
brothers and sisters being separated, some never
to meet again.
Discouraged from thoughts of
anything other than manual work, James’s obvious
artistic skill was greeted not with encouragement
but with disapproval by both family and teachers.
Later, bombed out of their London home, the
family moved to Essex and in 1943 James, aged
16, was taken on as a messenger for The People
newspaper in Fleet Street. Recognising his talent
from sketches he’d seen, his boss encouraged
James to attend evening classes at the Central
School of Arts and Crafts. In the 1950s, after a
brief spell in the RAF and by now working as a
commercial artist, James married and started
his own family.
Continually driven by a desire to paint, in 1967
James gave up his commercial work and moved
his family to Essex. Gradually he found his voice
and his audience as an artist, drawing and painting
all aspects of the Essex and later the Suffolk and
Norfolk coastline, as well as the inland scenery of
East Anglia and beyond. All of his pictures show
his concern with the effects of light on the
For the remainder of his life James continued
to develop as an artist, enjoying considerable
success both at exhibitions and through
commissioned works. This book, lovingly
compiled by his daughters, reflects the long years
of struggle through which this important artist
triumphantly emerged into the light.
Imprint: Halstar. ISBN 978 1 906690 35 9, hardback, 238x258mm, 144 pages. Published Noember 2011.