James Webb was a painter of marine and landscape subjects. He was born and lived all his life in Chelsea, London.
Webb painted scenes in England, Wales, Holland, France and along the Rhine. He painted figures and buildings with as much competence as he did landscapes.. His paintings have a feeling of tranquility and harmony to them. Webb used pale colors, but painted in a robust naturalistic style. Webb cannot be readily assigned to any one school. He depicted his own subjective relationship to a landscape in delicate brushwork, bathing the scene in soft light. He was particularly drawn to overseas locations, such as Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey and Mont Saint-Michel, France. He was influenced by J. M. W. Turner.
He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1853 and 1888 as well as at the British Institution, Suffolk Street, The Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the New Watercolour Society, Grosvenor Gallery, the Royal Society of Artists Gallery and various other venues. His works are represented at The Tate, The Victoria and Albert Museum and all the important museums in England.
James Webb came from a very artistic family. His father, Archibald Webb, was also a landscape painter who painted a famous picture of the Battle of Trafalgar. His brother, Byron Webb, was a London painter of animals who specialized in Highland deer, horse portraits and hunting and skating scenes.