John Ernest Aitken was born in 1881 at Toxteth Park, Liverpool, the son of Scottish marine artist James Aitken. He studied at the Manchester, Liverpool and Wallasey Schools of art and also received tutelage from his father. Aitken specialised in marine, coastal and harbour scenes, working mainly in watercolour. He starting his exhibiting career with a work entitled ‘The Grey North Sea’, shown at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool in 1907. He also exhibited at the Royal Cambrian Academy, Royal Society of Watercolourists, Royal Academy, Royal Institute, Royal Scottish Academy as well as at galleries in Manchester and Birmingham. Aitken and his father shared a studio in Liverpool until 1911 when the family moved to Port St Mary in the Isle of Man. There, Aitken built an artist’s studio at the rear of Lime Street from where he worked on views of the island and elsewhere from the many sketches he made. He continued to travel around England and Scotland painting seascapes, coastal views and harbour scenes, and also travelled to Europe painting the ports and harbours of Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and Italy. Aitken died at ‘Gullane’, Port St Mary, Isle of Man in 1957. A number of his works are held by the Manx National Art Collection.