Printmaker and painter James Ward was born in London; the son of a fruit merchant. He did not attend school but was apprenticed to engraver John Raphael Smith from twelve. After the apprenticeship was terminated, he studied under his brother, printmaker William. He later concentrated on painting, in which he was largely self-taught. In 1794 Ward became Painter and Engraver in Mezzotint to the Prince of Wales. In 1800 the Board of Agriculture commissioned him to produce some 200 paintings of livestock. Although the commission fell through after c.100 pictures, it led to similar private commissions. Ward was elected a Royal Academician in 1811. He received an annual pension of £100 from the Academy before his death in Hertfordshire, aged 90.
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