James Peel was a landscape painter. He married Sarah Martha Blyth. They were probably the parents of the landscape painter Amy Peel.
Peel was a prolific painter of the British countryside, particularly of the North Eastern counties, Lake District and North Wales. He painted in a naturalistic style comparable to that of Benjamin William Leader. He was an active exhibitor, showing in London from 1843 to 1888 at the Royal Academy, British Institution, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Society of British Artists and Arthur Tooth and Sons Gallery, as well as at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Royal Hibernian Academy, Manchester City Art Gallery and Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.
Peel, who was elected a member of the Society of British Artists in 1871, was in 1885 among those who promised work to the July exhibition of the SBA. At this time JW promised an etching The Fish-Shop, Busy Chelsea (K.264) to the first fifty subscribers of £5.5s to the SBA ballot (#09363). Peel was on the council of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1887, that is, during JW's Presidency (1886-1888), when it had gained a royal charter. At this time he exhibited at the society's 1886-1887 and 1887-1888 winter exhibitions.
Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Wood, Christopher, The Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1871; Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1880.