Originally from Fife , James went to Edinburgh College of Art, then returned to Fife in 1960 where he became a Principal Teacher of Art in Glenrothes High School.
He held various posts on secondment as National Development Officer for Art and Design, was Principal Examiner with the Scottish Examination Board, and was involved in the introduction and implementation of Standard Grade Art & Design in schools.
James retired from this work some twenty years ago and began painting and exhibiting on a full-time basis.
Slightly abstracted in style, and although always starting from drawings of specific places, they are taken well beyond the picturesque. The finished pieces show a concentration on atmosphere, mood, and response to things seen rather than mere representation of actual places.
“ – but the youthful and vibrant brushwork of septuagenarian James Somerville is simply stunning. Church At Alcantara and the smaller West Highland Croft show a confidence of experience and an innocent abandon simultaneously. The sheer intensity of the colours is breathtaking.”
Martin Lennon / Scotsman newspaper
Paintings are held in the collections of: –
The Scottish Arts Council, Edinburgh Hospitals Collection, Pitlochry Festival (Harry Cruden) Collection, Fife Regional Council, and various private collections at home and abroad.