George Shaw was born in Glasgow in 1929. In 1947 Shaw abandoned a future in the merchant service when he earned a place at the Wimbledon College of Art, at that time a primary school for painters. Four years at the School provided a good grounding in academic painting from which Shaw launched career. He was a qualified teacher of landscape and portrait painting and gave demonstrations for many societies. Many of his landscapes were painted under the pseudonym of James Shearer.
Shaw’s family held long connections to the sea. His grandfather was Captain of a ship that plied between Greenock and the China Seas and which tragically wrecked off the West Coast of Ireland, drowning the Captain. Shaw’s uncle was Chief Engineer on the Cunard Liner, Compania, and there has always been a member of the family at sea.
His first love was the sea and sailing craft, and his attitude to marine painting was one of strict realism and accuracy. His knowledge of London’s River from the Nore to Richmond was unsurpassed, and many of his subjects portrayed the Lower reaches of the Thames during its busiest period, up to around 1950.