James Griffiths was born in Staffordshire England and started painting seriously at the early age of thirteen.
He immigrated to Canada in 1852. Griffiths worked professionally as a painter of fine china for the Royal Doulton Works and created his personal works during his spare time. Griffiths primarily painted florals and still lives.
He was elected to the The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1880 and was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists from 1873.