James A. Aitken was the son of John Aitken, a "temperance" coffee house keeper who lived in Edinburgh and Glasgow. James Aitken lived in Glasgow and the Isle of Man, and married his wife, Annie Hamilton Millar, in 1872. His death in 1897 at the age of 51 was from Bright's Disease, which is what kidney failure was called at the time when a more specific diagnosis was not possible.
He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy plus was a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colours at different times. In later life he seemed to concentrate on watercolour painting, as in this example. He travelled extensively in Europe although this scene is probably more local. A watercolour by J.A. Aitken is held by the Glasgow Art Gallery and another picture is owned by the current Queen.
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