James Griffiths was a Canadian painter known for his precise floral paintings and works on china. Griffiths was also a pioneer in art education who helped to found the School of Art and Design in London, Ontario.
James Griffiths was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, England. At 13, he was working as a china painter and decorator at the Royal Doulton works. He and his brother, John Griffiths, also a painter, immigrated to Canada in 1854.
Once settled in London, Ontario, James Griffiths worked for 26 years as a civil servant in the office of the deputy clerk of the Crown and Pleas, becoming a member of the London City Council in 1860. During this time, painting was largely a weekend pursuit, though he still managed to exhibit watercolour still lifes and floral paintings at provincial exhibitions, and later with the Ontario Society of Artists and The Royal Canadian Academy.
In 1878, James, his brother John, the father of artist Paul Peel, John Peel, and others were responsible for the organization of the Western Ontario School of Art and Design in London, which soon developed a solid reputation for its china painting courses.
Griffiths’ works were highly detailed, such as Vase of Flowers with Bird's Nest (c. 1881), an example of enamel on porcelain.
James Griffiths was appointed to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts when it was established in 1880.