Painter and cartoonist. Born Oldham, Lancashire. Apprenticed to a fabric designer as a fourteen year old he also attended evening classes at Manchester School of Art where he met his future colleague L.S. Lowry. In 1921 he relocated to London. Attended evening classes at Central School of Arts & Crafts under Archibald Standish Hartrick. He worked as an illustrator and poster designer for many publications including Lilliput and in 1928 married Margaret Cook, also a painter. His interest in posters and printmaking led him to join the Senefelder Club. He first exhibited at the RA in 1929 and during the years 1932-52 was a member of London Group. In 1933 Fitton held his first solo exhibition at Arthur Tooth & Sons and he also worked for Left Review and executed posters for the Ministry of Food and London Underground. In 1944 he was elected an Associate of the RA, and a decade later became a full member.
A trustee of British Museum, 1968-75, Fitton was also Honorary Surveyor of Dulwich College Picture Gallery for a decade before his death. He also showed with the AIA of which in 1933 he was a founder member alongside Misha Black, James Boswell, James Holland, Pearl Binder and Clifford Rowe. In 1937 Fitton was commissioned by Frank Pick in 1937 to design two posters for London Transport and in 1938, murals for the United Kingdom government pavilion at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow. He undertook freelance magazine and newspaper illustration work in the 1940’s, and produced many designs for the MOI and MOF in World War II. He was also the chief assessor for the Ministry of Education diploma in design from 1940 to 1965 at the Royal Academy. He also showed with the NEAC and throughout the UK. Fitton’s work is represented in the Aberdeen Art Gallery, Jerwood Foundation, London Transport Museum, Oldham Art Gallery and the Tate Gallery.
Literature: James Fitton: an Appreciation by John Sheeran from a catalogue James Fitton RA 1899-1982 held at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 1986. J
ames Fitton RA. 1899-1982, Oldham Art Gallery, 1983.
The First Six Months are the Worst: A book on babies for older children by Harold Frederick Hutchison. Illustrated by James Fitton, published by Peter Davies: London, 1939.
James Fitton, James Boswell, James Holland: A triple alliance against the absurdities and hypocrisies of the existing scheme of things, etc. An illustrated calendar, published by Martin Lawrence: London, 1935.
With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk
Biography from Liss Llewellyn