The J. J. School of arts was founded through an endowment of Rs. 100,000 made in 1833 by Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy.
Classes in draughtsmanship were started in 1857. Lockwood Kipling, the father of Rudyard Kipling, started classes in modelling, painting and ironwork in 1866.
John Begg started the first course on architecture in 1900. This was made a complete four year program in 1908, and the course was designed by George Wittet.
Claude Batley became a visiting professor in 1917 and was the principal of the School between 1923 and 1943. In 1996 the Claude Batley Architectural Gallery was opened in the School. The first architectural gallery in the city, it will be available free of cost to architects for exhibitions. Funding for display panels, lights, etc is awaited.