James Sleator
Irish Portrait Painter and Still Life Artist. Biography, Paintings.

For a guide to portraitists
like James Sleator, see:
Irish Portrait Artists.

James Sinton Sleator RHA (1889-1950)

The Irish portraitist and still-life painter James Sinton Sleator was born in County Antrim in 1889. He studied drawing and painting at Belfast School of Art for several years and joined the Belfast Art Society, before moving to Dublin and enrolling at the Metropolitan School of Art. Here, Sleator studied under William Orpen winning gold and silver medals for still-life painting. In 1914, he left art school and joined William Orpen's London studio as an assistant. In 1915, he exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and became a teacher at the Dublin Metropolitan Art School (now the National College of Art & Design). In 1917, he was elected an Associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy, and he became a member in the same year - an amazing feat.


In 1920 James Sleator was a founding member of the Society of Dublin Painters. This was followed by a period of travel and painting abroad, interspersed with stays in London, Dublin and Belfast his home. He visited Spain and Italy to study the Renaissance and the Old Masters. In 1927, he settled in London to work on his portrait art, working with Orpen. In 1935 he was made an honorary member of the Ulster Art Academy, Belfast. In 1936 he exhibited at the Royal Academy and later showed at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He also took part in several solo and group exhibitions.

When made homeless by wartime bombing, Sleator travelled to Dublin, becoming Secretary of the RHA. He joined the executive committee of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art and the selection committee of the Oireachtas art committee, exhibiting his own work there in subsequent years. In 1945, he succeeded Dermod O'Brien as President of the RHA. Throughout all this time he continued to add to his long list of portrait subjects.

James Sleator died suddenly in 1950. A memorial exhibition of his works was held at the RHA later in the year. In 1951, Victor Waddington Galleries staged a representative exhibition of Sleators works, and in 1989 the Armagh County Museum held an exhibition of 50 of his paintings; the show travelled to Fermanagh County Museum and then to the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallagher Gallery in Dublin. James Sleator's paintings are represented in most major portrait collections in Ireland and England, and in public collections of Irish painting throughout Ireland.

Most Expensive Work by James Sleator

The auction record for a work by the James Sleator was set in 2006, when his still life painting, entitled Corner of the Studio (see above), was sold at Whytes, in Dublin, for €34,000.

More Information About Visual Arts in Ireland

• For details of other portraitists and still life painters, see: Irish Artists: Paintings and Biographies.
• For more about portrait painters like James Sleator, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about portraiture, see: Homepage.

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