James Hamilton Hay Biography

James Hamilton Hay




Painter and printmaker James Hamilton Hay was born in Birkenhead, Liverpool, England, in 1874. After graduation from high school he worked for his father James Murdoch Hay's architecture firm, before enrolling in the Birkenhead School of Art. In the late 1890s he left for Cornwall to study at St. Ives, under Algernon Talmage and Julius Olsson; he participated for the first time in the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition in 1895, where he would return annually for the rest of his career. Painting was his primary focus, with major influences including James McNeill Whistler, Spencer Gore and the Camden Town Group. He also influenced by the works of master Japanese color woodcut artists.

When he returned to Liverpool Hay continued his painting studies at the Liverpool School of Art and organized an exhibition at The Studio with Whistler, Augustus John, and E.A. Hornel; by 1909, he had established a following in England. He did not pursue etching with any seriousness until around 1912, when he learned the drypoint technique from Francis Dodd. He took to the new medium and between 1913 and 1916 he etched 53 plates and exhibited frequently with the London Group. Unfortunately, after battle with lung cancer, he died in October of 1916. A memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Goupil Gallery in 1917.

Liver Sketching Club; Sandon Studios Society; Liverpool Academy; London Group

Walker Art Gallery (1909); Baillie Gallery (1910); Sandon Studios (1911); Venice Biennel (1914); Royal Academy; Royal Scottish Academy; Liverpool Royal Institution; Liverpool Academy

Museum of London; Lakelands Art Trust; Dunedin Art Gallery; Williamson Art Gallery; and the Walker Art Gallery