James Taylor Brown (1883-1940)
James Taylor Brown was born in Stewarton in 1883 and lived most of his life locally. As a boy he showed tremendous promise with his imaginative drawings, sketches and colour work and this was the beginning of a career in art. Until he was 28 he worked in the dry goods department of Arthur's Warehouse in Queen Street, Glasgow. Later he opened his own shop in Main Street, Stewarton, selling newspapers, books and confectionery.
Most of the remainder of his life — he died in 1940 at the age of 57—he devoted to painting. He was fortunate to have the guidance and took lessons from some distinguished Scottish artists from the Glasgow Boys, including E.A.Walton, A.R.S.A.
His natural talent at painting country scenes brought him a measure of fame and he had exhibitions in the Royal Scottish Academy, the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts and the Society of Scottish Artists in Edinburgh. Other exhibitions were held in England.
The Stewarton artist's pictures varied according, it is said, to his frame of mind at the time of painting. When he was feeling well and light-hearted his paintings were lighter in colour but when depressed or hitting the bottle, as he was known to do on occasion, he used darker shades.