Will Roderick James

1892 – 1942

Will Roderick James


Quebec, Canada


Book illustration, western horse -genre painting


Ernest Dufault, Joseph Ernest-Napthali Dufault, William James Dufault, William Roderick James

Joseph Ernest Nephtali Dufault, later to be known as Will James, was born on June 6, 1892, in Quebec, Canada. Known for both his writing and his precise pencil drawings, Will’s drawing experiences began on his mother’s kitchen floor.

At a young age, he departed Canada and traveled to the United States, working and drifting primarily as a cowboy. He served in the army and soon began selling his sketches. In 1920 he married, and shortly after that, he had a brief period of study at Yale University, but that enrollment was short lived because he felt closed in by the environment and missed his wife Alice. During that time, he painted the occasional still life, which was atypical of him.