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James Aumonier (1832-1911)

James Aumonier, RI ROI NEAC (1832-1911)

Though he did not take up painting professionally until he was over 30, James Aumonier soon distinguished himself with his peaceful landscapes of Southern England, and especially his pastorals and river scenes.

James Aumonier was born in Camberwell, London, on 9 April 1832, the second of the six children of Henry Collingwood Aumonier, a jeweller of French descent, and his wife, Nancy (née Stacy). He grew up with his family in North London, at addresses in Highgate and Barnet. Following the death of his father in 1848, he, and his mother and siblings, settled with his uncle, the jeweller, William Stacy, at Clifton Cottage, Willesden.

Aumonier showed an early interest in art and, while working as a paper stainer (by 1851), he took evening classes in drawing, at the London Mechanics’ Institute (the forerunner of Birkbeck College); the Department of Science and Art, Marlborough House; and the National Art Training School, South Kensington. As a result of his studies, he became a designer of printed calicos for use in furnishings at a London factory, while spending much of his spare time teaching himself to paint from nature. He was living with three of his siblings at 31 Beaumont Street, Marylebone, in 1861, and, when he married Amelia Wright, the daughter of a gold beater, in 1863, she would live there too.

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