Claerwen James

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Claerwen James (born 1970) is a British painter.

She specialises in portraiture, particularly of young people, painted from photographs rather than live sittings.[1] "I am a long way away from my childhood now", she has said, "but a lot of children are not that happy and I didn't like being a child much either." She sees the early years of life as "an uncomfortable state, not knowing who you are yet, and not being able to articulate things or have any power".[2]

James has been represented by the Flowers Central Gallery since 2006 with solo shows in London in 2006, 2008, and 2013. She had her debut at Flowers, New York in 2010.[3] Her work is in the permanent collections of the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in Spanbroek, in the Netherlands, and the University of Cambridge.

As well as painting, James makes prints with master print maker Kip Gresham at the Print Studio in Cambridge.[4]

From 1999 to 2003 James trained in the painting department of the Slade School of Art, graduating in 2003 with a first class degree and winning the Melvill Nettleship Prize for Figure Composition (previously held both by Gwen Raverat and by Gwen John.)

Before commencing her career as a full-time artist, James studied zoology at Oxford under Richard Dawkins.[5] She then did postgraduate research on the molecular biology of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in the Biochemistry of the Cell Nucleus Laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and completed a PhD. During this time she was for a short while a visiting researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, United States.

James is the daughter of the Australian author Clive James and his wife, the scholar Prue Shaw.[6]


  • Claerwen James [Catalogue of the exhibition held at Flowers 21 May– 26 June 2010] New York.
  • Claerwen James [Catalogue of the exhibition held at Flowers 13 February– 16 March 2013] London.


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