Possibly born in 1815 according to an entry in the Dissenting Deputies Register birth details at Dr Williams' Library, London. His parents were Henry and Elizabeth Philp of Falmouth where he lived throughout his life.
The first notice of this artist from Falmouth, is as winner of the First Prize in the 2nd Class of oil paintings at the RCPS Show in Falmouth during its first Annual Exhibition (1834), for Marine View from Pendennis.
At age 18, he placed second in the professional artists section with View of Falmouth. In 1835, he equalled the former success with another oil painting, View of St Michael's Mount (Bronze Medal). He became not only a notable prize winner, but later one of the main exhibition judges for the annual shows.
He was also known as a stationer, printer and publisher. In 1836 the Philp family moved to Bristol, then in 1846 to London, where James had nine works selected for the Royal Academy.
By the time of the 1841 census his father had died and he is listed as an artist living with his mother and siblings at Penwerris Row, Budock. By 1851 he is listed as an artist painter at 14 Erisey Terrace, Falmouth, along with his mother and sister, Mary, who is listed as a 19-year-old teacher of drawing. In 1861 he is recorded as still living with his mother and sister, but at Harriet Place, Budock.
He married Mary Jane Powell at Clifton in 1861, which was the year he made a tour of Wales. He was also in Wales in 1863. 1881 found him living at Woodlane Crescent, Falmouth with his wife, a son George, and also his mother-in-law and a niece. He became an Associate of NWS in 1856 and a full member in 1863, exhibiting a total of 347 works at Society exhibitions. Much of his work in watercolour depicts coastal scenes around Cornwall with shipping, fishing folk and the coastline.
Painter in oils and watercolour of landscapes and coastal scenes
works and access
Works include: Marine View from Pendennis (1834); View of Falmouth (1834); View of St Michael's Mount (1835); Cornish CoastScene; South East View of St. Michael's Mount (1846); View of Tintern Abbey; Mount's Bay, Cornwall (1883)
Access to Work: Falmouth; Maidstone; Ulster; Brighton & Hove Museums
RCPS 1834 (prize winner), 1835 (Bronze Medal), September Annual Show 1846 (Silver medal); ROI 1883; RA; RI; SS; NWS (347 works)
RCPS; ARI (1856); RI (1863); ROI (1883); ANWA (1856); NWS (1863)
Antique Collectors Club (1976) Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920 H L Mallalieu
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn & West Cornwall;
Tovey, David (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volume One - Pre-1920, Wilson Books
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser 1835
The Penzance Gazette and West Cornwall Advertiser 9 Sep 1846