James Fitton was a British painter, lithographer, poster and set designer. He was born in Lancashire, though spent most of his life in London. Often sickly as a child, he spent a large amount of his youth in and out of waiting rooms and hospitals giving him plenty of time to develop his love and skill at drawing. His ill health led to his early departure from school aged just 14. The same year, however, he took up evening classes at the Manchester School of Art where he was taught by the French Impressionist Adolphe Vallette and shared the class with L. S. Lowry. 

 

Following his move to London, Fitton worked as a freelance illustrator for several years until taking a permanent position with the C. Vernons Advertising agency. 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 work there included the well-known posters he designed for London Transport. 

 

Fitton began painting after moving to Dulwich in 1928. The following year, he exhibited at The Royal Academy for the first time and went on to show work there his whole life, becoming a Royal Academician in 1954. His work is full of colourful and characterful depictions of everyday life and individuals. These range from the peaceful and oddly ethereal to the eccentric.