Philosophical Charlie


‘Philosophical Charlie’ has more than a nod to several famous philosophers including ‘Socrates’ ‘Plato’, ‘Aristotle’ and ‘Confucius’. The piece is also littered with related quotes, symbolism and philosophical references.

This is a vibrant, intriguing painting with plenty for the viewer to explore and reflect upon with the now iconic ‘Charlie Duck’ as the focal point.  Let’s delve a little deeper and take a look at the various elements that Paul has envisioned that come together to create this wonderful masterpiece…

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On the graffitied back wall, we have the large white letters ‘QI’ representing chi-energy as well as the reverse version of ‘IQ’ alongside the pink lettering of ‘Plato Boys’. 

Layered over these, there is green wording in Spanish, which translates to the famous Socrates quote ‘I only know that I know nothing’ by the ‘Soco crew’. 

The light bulb has the number 42 on it which if you are familiar with ‘Hitch Hikers guide to the galaxy’ was their answer to the meaning of life. 

There is a ‘To be’ on the wall which is beside the ‘Cola Confucius’ can which has written upon it ‘not to be’. Since the cans are ‘not to be sold individually’, the existential statement seemingly comes up – ‘to be or not to be?’

Amidst the detritus is an interestingly created CD – the Hayden symphony 22 is titled ‘The Philosopher’, it can be found be on the ‘Naxos’ label but Paul has called it the Quaxos label and this must surely be the eclectic compilation series judging as it is twinned with the 1970’s ‘Disco Duck’ by Rick Dees and his band (the Cast of Idiots).

The graphics of 2 ducks is taken from the saying in bingo where 22 is referred to as 2 little ducks. 

The coins in the foreground are ‘I Ching’ coins used in Confucius readings.

The rumpled paper has a series of questions and comments that relate to the subject matter – one should also take heed of the warning on the cigarette packet.

The ‘Sator square’ on the left hand side of the wall is a two-dimensional word square containing a five-word Latin palindrome which is ancient and mysterious and has featured in magical contexts. The five words can be translated to mean ‘The sower with his plough, holds the wheel with care’. 

The ruler and piece of string at the front left-hand edge relate to the saying ‘how long is a piece of string’. 

There are other details within the painting which are fascinating to explore closely. ‘Charlie’ would appear to be on a quest for wisdom and in search of the meaning of life.

Dimensions Select Options Below

Limited Edition

Giclée Box Canvas – Limited edition of 100 plus artist proofs

Giclée Paper – Limited edition of 100 plus artist proofs

All limited edition prints are checked, numbered and hand signed by Paul James and include a Certificate of Authenticity.

Giclée is a French word meaning ‘a spray of liquid’. This inkjet printing method uses high quality UV long lasting pigment inks on archival grade paper or canvas.

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Selecting Your Choice of Format

To make sure that each one of our collectors can find the perfect artwork to match their home, we have a selection of sizes, formats and framing options available. Watch our video to find more about each option we have available.

Can't decide? Not to worry. Our team of experts are always happy to help. Either drop into our gallery, or give us a call and we'll do our best to help you make the right decision.

Struggling to visualise this piece in your home?

Would you like to see this artwork in your room? Simply send us a picture of your space with a rough dimension and the format you would like to and we will gladly show you.

About The Artist

Paul James

A leading contemporary animal and landscape realist painter – Paul is world renowned for the skill and craftsmanship of his artwork. He dedicates himself to each piece with passion. Freedom is his forte and therefore his work is always fresh and current.

Currently resident in Southern Ireland, he was born and grew up in Leicestershire. His artistic and musical abilities became apparent at an early age. Although essentially self-taught he did attend art College, at the insistence of his teachers to study graphic design. Paul however, did not feel it was necessarily the right path to take and this proved to be the case, so being something of a non- conformist he made the decision not to complete the course. Instead he started to paint; at first mostly mechanical subjects such as, classic cars and aircraft, and was a one-time member of the ‘Guild of motoring artists’. He also made something of a living taking commissions to paint portraits of peoples pet dogs and cats.

Finishing Touches

Bespoke Framing Service

A bespoke frame is the only way to ensure that your precious piece of art  will be preserved for decades to come.

Our team of expert curators are here to ensure your frame is handpicked to match your style, it is well made and custom built to compliment the piece and once created, it becomes a valuable masterpiece for you to enjoy.

Over 100+ Frame Styles Available:


I’ve always thought that owning one of Paul’s pieces is an experience that keeps giving. All the animals have real story, you can make up your own stories and then hidden in the picture are lots of even more stories. ‘Hillary’ still makes me smile every morning I leave to go to work!


I would highly recommend the Paul James Gallery to friends and acquaintances. As official distributors, the gallery holds an extensive collection of work by Paul James. I can be confident of the authentication of every art piece that I purchase from them. The guidance and support provided by Andreea was exceptional. She spent time understanding my needs and exceeded all expectations.


I started collecting Paul James pieces almost 2 years ago now and Andreea has helped me build my collection to 11... I took my two girls to the Paul James Gallery event last month and they also fell in love with all the animals on display, so much so, my 7 year old daughter walked around the gallery with Andreea and picked out a piece which she now calls ‘Brownie’ after her love of brownies, the artwork commonly known as ‘Browned Off’.

David & SarahTamworth

We have been collecting Paul James’ art for more than 15 years and we have just purchased our 22nd piece… A visit to the gallery in Daventry and a chance to meet Andreea, Paul C and the rest of the team really added to the experience of purchasing a new Paul James painting. Their input, guidance and service from start to finish was simply exceptional. More recently, we had a chance to meet Paul and his wife, Linda, during the launch of his latest piece and thoroughly enjoyed talking to them about his work over the past number of years.