To say that James Chambury’s work is reminiscent of almost every landscape painter of the twentieth century, from Edward Seago and Frank Wootton to Edward Wesson and James Fletcher-Watson, is unfair as it implies that it has a derivative quality, which it emphatically does not. What it means is that there is a clearly definable tradition of English landscape painting that has developed in the last hundred years and which has flourished in the hands of some very capable exponents.
James Chambury is one of a long line of commercial artists who, in middle-life, found a fine art voice. Not all of these also found an audience, but James’s move to Essex in 1967 gave him the wealth of the East Anglian landscapes that form the bulk of his work and he was able to exhibit regularly from 1971 onwards.
James’s name may not be widely familiar in the world of art, and this book may perhaps be seen as something of a footnote to the landscape tradition, though it is an extensive and informative one. The number and quality of the illustrations is generous and the only real lack is that of dates, which would have made it possible to trace the development of James’s style in oil, watercolour, pastel and pen & ink.