'The direct simplicity of Mr Sant's subjects, and the entire absence of affectation in his treatment, are qualities which are far more worthy, if less exciting, than many soulful and affected compositions which reveal no more craft and far less straightforward accomplishment'
The painter James Sant was born in Croydon, and first showed artistic inclination at the age of 8, when he became obsessively interested in copying a sketch by Landseer. He was trained by John Varley and then A. W. Callcott, before entering the Royal Academy Schools from 1840. After early subject pictures, he became a popular portraitist, eventually becoming Principal Painter in Ordinary to the Queen, and producing many pictures of the Royals and the aristocracy, as well as highly-esteemed portraits of children. He was elected ARA in 1861, and RA in 1870. He exhibited extremely prolifically at the Academy from 1840 through to 1904.
As well as portraits (which included some trompe l'oeil), Sant painted allegorical female figures, some genre and some landscape. His work was much engraved, e.g. Little Red Riding Hood and The Soul's Awakening.
Sant's work includes The Novice in Preston, Maria in the Walker Art Gallery, A Lady with Flowers at the Wallace Collection, and A Thorn Amongst the Roses in Manchester.
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