In 2012 Sam Swire commissioned James to paint two properties: one in Beijing and the other in Hong Kong. Sam agreed that while working on these commissions James could build up a collection of studies that would form the basis for this exhibition Hong Kong, Beijing at Delahunty Fine Art, Mayfair, London.
The project mirrors Edward Seago’s series of paintings of Hong Kong in 1962, which were based on a commission by Sam’s grandfather, John Kidston Swire. In many ways James follows in the tradition of Seago although he often contrasts a painterly approach with a more graphic quality, influenced by his time as an architectural student at the Royal College of Art. James’s largest painting in the exhibition Hong Kong, after Seago depicts a scene that Seago painted as part of his 1962 commission.