James Norie and two of his sons, James and Robert, made their names as decorative landscape painters. Some of their works were commissioned as topographical records of specific locations but most of their paintings are imaginative, idealised views. These were strongly influenced by the classical landscapes of Claude Lorraine and Gaspard Dughet. Many were designed as elements in interior decorative schemes, sometimes painted in monochrome rather than full colour. Norie senior, originally from Morayshire, trained in Edinburgh with Thomas Warrender. In 1729, he became a founder member of the Edinburgh Academy of St Luke, the earliest art academy in the city.