James Allen was born in Lurgan, County Armagh in Northern Ireland. He studied at Brighton College of Art and later taught at a number of art schools in England and Northern Ireland. He returned to Northern Ireland in 1977 to establish the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Print Workshop. His printmaking includes mezzotints, screenprints, various types of etchings with and without aquatint, and photoetching. His choice of subject matter varied widely and included landscape, interiors, cityscapes and figures.