A noted painter of landscapes and architecture, English painter James Holland would work first in watercolor then oil and always be noted for his remarkable skills as a colorist as well as his abilities in draftsmanship.
He began his artistic career as a painter of pottery in a Longport, England factory. He relocated to London around 1819 where he continued to paint pottery to earn a living, but where he also began to compose watercolor images of natural history subjects and floral scenes. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1824.
He would continue to paint in watercolor, but by 1828 was exhibiting oils at the Academy and other works with the Society of Painters in Watercolors, as well as the Society of British Artists. He would be made a member of the Society of Painter in Watercolors in 1835.
He made his first painting excursion to Europe in 1831, and it was at this time that interior and exterior architecture became a favorite theme. It was also his first visit to Venice, Italy, and the city would become Holland's favorite subject matter for the rest of his career.
In 1837 the Landscape Annual commissioned Holland to make a series of drawings in Portugal which were completed and printed in 1839. This allowed him to return to Europe repeatedly, and he visited in 1835, 1845, 1851 and 1857 focusing primarily on Venice and its environs as well as visits to in France, Switzerland and Austria.
His works are in the collections of many museums, including those in England and the United States.