James FITTON (1899 - 1982)

Fitton was born in Oldham, Lancashire on the 11th February.  The colourful characters that populated this bustling mill-town were seminal in the development of his caricature-like style of painting. Fitton was educated at boarding school but left at the age of fourteen with a report from the headmaster that said Fitton 'won't be good at anything - that is except drawing.'

Fitton worked for six years sorting textile samples in Manchester, while attending Manchester Art School in the evenings. He was taught by Adolfe Vallette, one time assistant to Degas and fellow students included L.S. Lowry. In 1925, after moving to London, Fitton spent his evenings studying at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in Southampton Row.

Fitton worked as a freelance illustrator for several years until taking a permanent position with the C. Vernons Advertising agency, where he was later promoted to Art Director, a post he held for fifty years converting it into one of the most successful pre war advertising agencies.  His best known work was produced for London Transport.

Fitton began painting after moving to Dulwich in 1928.  The following year, he became a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.  Fitton's first solo show was held at the Arthur Tooth and Sons gallery in 1933 and was a considerable success. He undertook free-lance magazine and newspaper illustration work in the 1940's, and produced many designes for MOI and MOF in the Second World War.