Jacob Kramer was born in the small Ukrainian town of Klincy in 1892. Kramers parents, Max a painter, and Celia an opera singer, emigrated to England with Jacob in 1900. They settled in Leeds. Jacob was at the Slade from 1913 to 1914, financed by the Jewish Educational Aid Society. He became a major portraitist (from interest as well as necessity), painting many notables passing through the city, and taught at the branch art college, which in 1968 was renamed Jacob Kramer College.
In the words of the catalogue of the 1984 Ben Uri Gallery exhibition:
‘He bought a robust energy, largeness and simplicity of design to an art world of politeness and good taste… A quality that remains defiantly Eastern European.’