James Humbert Craig was born in Belfast on 12 July 1877 but grew in Ballyholme, County Down. His father, Alexander Craig, was a tea merchant and his Swiss mother, Marie Metzenen, came from a family with a painting tradition. He was educated privately. In his boyhood he had always drawn and painted. He spent some time in his fathers wholesale merchant tea business, but left and briefly attended Belfast College of Art. He was a largely self-taught painter of landscapes.
He lived in Tornamona Cottage, Cushendun, County Antrim, and devoted himself to painting. As an artist he did not look abroad to the radical ideas of Modernism, but aimed instead to develop a suitable voice for his specifically Irish subject matter. He visited the continent on several occasions, and painted in Switzerland, the south of France and northern Spain. In 1928 he was elected to the Royal Hibernian Academy and exhibited there. He was also a member of the Royal Ulster Academy. In 1928 he exhibited along with Paul Henry at the Fine Arts Society in London and he illustrated Richard Hayward’s In Praise of Ulster in 1938. Among his principal works is ‘The Road To Maam Cross, Connemarai. His work is in many collections, including the National Gallery of Ireland and the Ulster Museum. His widow Annie bequeathed a dozen paintings to Bangor Borough Council.
Craig worked right up to his time of death on 12th June 1944. The following year a memorial exhibition was held at the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery.
Location of plaque: Tornamona Cottage, Castle Park, Cushendun, Co Antrim
Date of Unveiling: 6 April 2009
Report of Plaque unveiling available HERE