Artist, James Boswell, was born in New Zealand on 9 June 1906, at Westport, South Island, the son of a Scottish born schoolmaster, Edward Blair Buchanan Boswell, and his New Zealand born wife Ida Fair. He was educated at Auckland Grammar School, Auckland and the Elam School of Art before coming to London in 1925 to continue his training at the Royal College of Art until 1929. Although he was dismissed twice from the RCA painting school over conflicts with its then anti-modern stance, his early works were accepted by the London Group, with whom he exhibited from 1927 to 1932.
In 2006 Tate Britain held a centenary display of his paintings, and The British Museum an exhibition of war drawings in their archives. In that year, Muswell Press published his war drawings from London, Scotland and Iraq: ‘James Boswell: Unofficial War Artist’, with text by William Feaver.