James Sant was born in Croydon Surrey on 23 April 1820. During Sant’s early years, he was a student of the highly regarded watercolourist John Varley and the English landscape painter Sir Augustus Wall Callcott before entering the Royal Academy at the age of twenty.
Sant specialised in portraits of women and children and in 1871 was appointed the principal portrait artist to Queen Victoria having painted the Royal children on many occasions, most notable works being that of Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice. Sant was elected to the Royal Academy (RA) in 1870 and exhibited many works at the RA between 1840 – 1915. Sant became one of the most highly respected painters of the Victorian era and in 1914 was awarded the Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in recognition for his distinguished personal service to the Monarch of the Commonwealth.
James Sant passed away at his home in Lancaster Gate, London on 12 July 1916. A number of Sant’s works now hang on permanent display in galleries across Great Britain including the National Portrait Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery, the Wallace Collection and the Tate Gallery.