James Ford was born in Cornwall, England. He is listed as a member in the SASA Exhibition of Pictures catalogue of 1904, but there is no record of him ever showing with the Society.Holiday Time in Cape Town, his major work, was completed in 1899. Its foreground contains images of the aged artist and Constance Penstone (qv.) active in front of their easels. There is a report of Ford's opinions on the Second SASA/SADC exhibitionexhibition at the Drill Hall in 1903:

The young artists of Cape Town who are exhibiting their work in the Drill Hall will be interested to know what a veteran painter thinks of their work. Mr James Ford, who came to CapeTown from Kensington twenty-two years ago, to become first master of the School of Art, and who was connected with that institution for some fourteen years, recently visited the exhibition. In a brief interview he expressed himself as delighted with the number and excellence of the works on the walls. They show the great progress art has made in South Africa in recent years, and they promise a magnificent future for art in Cape Town. The praise accorded the pictures by the press, he added, has not been half so enthusiastic as it should have been. (undocumented Press clipping, Dec. 1903, SANG Archives).

Ford was brought to SA from London's South Kensington Department of Science and Art to teach at the Cape Town School of Art on Stalplein in 1880. He remained there until 1886. Nothing is known of his activities until 1891, when he commenced work on this, his most important work. He had hoped to sell it for £5,000, but there was no interest and he was forced to sell it for far less. He died in one of Cape Town's poor houses. 

Curriculum Vitae

Exhibitor on SASA-related exhibitions c.1898 - 1950: No record survives of Ford exhibiting on a SASA exhibition either before or after 1902, even though he is listed as a member in 1904. Holiday Time in Cape Town supposedly absorbed all of his energies between 1891 and 1899. The possibility chat he exhibited with the Society in 1897 or 1899 cannot be ruled out, but he certainly did not feature on the Second Annual Exh. of SASA in 1898.

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