James Baynes was born at Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland. He became a pupil of painter George Romney, before entering the Royal Academy Schools, aged 27. He was a successful drawing master, despite a scandal which exposed him and fellow drawing masters for submitting enhanced or redrawn examples of their own work, for premiums from the Society of Arts, under their pupils' names. Baynes exhibited views of Wales, the Lake District, Norfolk and Kent at the Royal Academy and the Oil and Watercolour Society. He was a member of the Associated Artists in Watercolours from 1808 to 1812. His son was lithographer and watercolour painter Thomas Mann Baynes and his grandson was Frederick Thomas Baynes, watercolour painter of fruit and flower subjects.
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