The Aumoniers were an artistic family of French Huguenot descent. James was born in London and worked as a textile designer and artist. Merton Russell-Cotes was a great patron of artists and was very proud of his connections. Here’s what he says in his autobiography about Aumonier:
‘Another comparatively unknown artist whom I knew very well was Aumonier, a very kindly man, and of a very retiring disposition. He was a delightful man as a friend. Up to the age of 30 his principal employment was in the calico printing business, where his artistic talents were utilised in designing flower and other pictorial arrangements for printing calico. He ought to have been made an R.A., but his temperament would not admit of his making the slightest effort; in point of fact he preferred being without that honour.’
This painting shows Victoria Embankment, which was one the first streets in London to be permanently lit by electricity in 1878. The lampposts, with their distinctive decorative fish motifs shown in the painting, are still there.