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The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920,
lists the following dates for James Lawson Stewart ?1829 – 1911.

These dates have been copied and used by people on Ebay, provincial auctioneers and even Christie's of London, when they sold a large collection of his paintings in November 2010.

The Christie's catalogue states "James Lawson Stewart was primarily a painter of views of the streets and buildings of the cities where he lived, London and Edinburgh. Some of his London street scenes also appeared as illustrations in Charles Dickens' novels (see lots 705, 709 and 712)."

I have not been able to find any record of James Lawson Stewart living in Edinburgh, or indeed any pictures of the streets of Edinburgh; the census returns always list addresses in London and the correspondence I have seen also give London addresses. I have failed to find any editions of Dicken's novels where James Lawson Stewart's paintings are used as illustrations. Enquiries through the London Antiquarian Book trade have also proved fruitless.

James Lawson Stewart was in fact born on the 3 July 1841 and was christened at Christ Church, Southwark on 30 January 1842. He died on 16 December 1929 at Brook Farm, Northiam, Rye.

His father James Stewart was a baker and his mother Eliza Stewart (née Lawson) took over the family business when his father died in 1850. James was born, and the family lived at 11 Cross Street, Christchurch, Southwark.

He married Clara Ann Lawson on 9 April 1868 at the Parish Church of St Mary, Lambeth. Both were registered as living at Hambleton Terrace. His occupation on the marriage certificate was Surveyor. James' father was listed as Baker – deceased. Clara’s father William Lawson listed as Gentleman. Witnesses were William S Lawson and Fanny Kemp Lawson.

In the 1871 and 1881 census returns, James Lawson Stewart's Occupation is listed as "Architect and Surveyor".

On 22 August 1884, his mother Eliza died. Her address was then 25 Chesterfield Grove, East Dulwich, Surrey which was also James Lawson Stewart's address - detailed in the Index of Wills and Administration. His mother's estate was valued at £1,825 5s which was presumably split evenly between James and his younger brother William who were the executors.It is worth noting that in the Index of Wills and Administration, James Lawson Stewart is identified as an Artist.

By the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census returns, he is listed as "Artist in Watercolours" and in addition in 1901 he is listed as "Own Account at Home" under Occupation.

Reynolds's Newspaper, Sunday, July 2, 1893

At the Guildhall on Monday, Mr James Lawson Stewart, an artist, residing at Lettson-road, Camberwell, was charged, before Mr. Alderman Morgan, with breaking a plate-glass window in the shop of Mr. John Morris, picture dealer, 5, Crosby-square, Bishopsgate, on Saturday afternoon. Mr. Stewart admitted the facts, but observed that he asked Mr. Morris either to return his pictures or to pay for them. Mr. Alderman Morgan observed that under no circumstances had the defendant any right to break windows. Mr. Morris denied that he owed money to the accused. The Alderman imposed a fine of £3, and ordered the defendant to pay £5 for the damage, or to undergo a month.