James Kay

Le Havre – The Artists – Kay, James

This page forms part of a series of pages dedicated to the many artists who worked in Le Havre. A full list of all the artists with a link to their works can be found at the bottom of this page.

James Kay
James Kay

Movement(s): –

James Kay (1858 – 1942) was a Scottish artist notable for his paintings of the landscapes and shipping. Born on the Isle of Arran (son of Thomas Kay, a chief petty officer in the British Royal Navy, and Violet McNeish), Kay spent much of his working life with a studio in Glasgow and living at Portincaple on Loch Long in Argyll and Bute. He trained at the Glasgow School of Art.

He showed great originality, influenced by the emergence of impressionism of the 1880s. Active from the late 1880s, Kay achieved regular recognition at exhibitions in Europe. He exhibited at the Salon in Paris in 1894, and at 1895’s La Libre Esthetique in Brussels was awarded an honourable mention. In 1903 his painting Toil and Grime was awarded the silver medal at the Societe des Amis des Arts in Rouen, while another work, River of the North, won the gold medal at the Paris Salon.

He was elected to the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) in 1906 and to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1938.

In 1911, Kay met and married Ada Laval, who was from Mauritius. He had one daughter, artist Violet McNeish Kay.

Click here to read James Kay’s full bio on Wikipedia.

NOTE: A black box like this one, means that there is an explanation text about today’s situation of the painting above it.
NOTE: Click on this photo icon anywhere below a painting to see a photo of what the area looks like today.

NOTE: A blue box like this one, means there is an explanation or a note.

???? James Kay - Boulevard Strasbourg, Le Havre
???? James Kay – Boulevard Strasbourg, Le Havre

TODAY: The Boulevard Strasbourg is the main artery into the city centre and still exists. The Courthouse seen on the right is still there, and again trams run in the middle of the road.

???? James Kay - La place Gambetta, Le Havre
???? James Kay – La place Gambetta, Le Havre

TODAY: The Place Gambetta no longer exists, it now houses the “Volcan” (Oscar Niemeyer’s creation) and the monument to the dead. The smaller square is now called Place General de Gaulle.

???? James Kay - Le Havre
???? James Kay – Le Havre
???? James Kay - The Pier
???? James Kay – The Pier


The city of Sainte-Adresse (population: 7,400) is an immediate suburb of Le Havre and lies to the North/West alongside the coast. It shares the same seaside promenade with Le Havre.

???? James Kay - Sainte Adresse
???? James Kay – Sainte Adresse

TODAY: The church you see on the left is the “Notre Dame des Flots” and you can see Le Havre beach in the distance.

James Kay painted in several places along the coast of Normandy and Brittany, here they are (links to his works of art will appear below when published);

Here are the painters/artists who painted in Le Havre (a “*” indicates that the artist did not worked directly in Le Havre itself, instead worked closeby, a link “” to the artist’s works will appear below when published):

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TODAY: Monument to the Dead and the Volcan
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