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date: 15 September 2019

Pryde, James (Ferrier)locked

(b Edinburgh, March 30, 1866; d London Feb 24, 1941).
  • John Rothenstein



(b Edinburgh, March 30, 1866; d London Feb 24, 1941).

Scottish painter, poster designer and stage designer. After leaving the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, in 1887 he trained briefly in Paris at the Académie Julian under William Bouguereau. He settled in England in 1891. In 1893 he met William Nicholson (his future brother-in-law); this resulted in their fruitful collaboration (1893–9) as the Beggarstaff Brothers. They designed numerous posters, for example that for the actor–manager Henry Irving’s staging of Don Quixote at the Lyceum Theatre, London, in 1895, but the partnership was not a commercial success and Pryde’s contribution to it delayed his progress as a painter. With a curious suddenness, however, his emotions fused into a romantic, dignified, sombre and highly personal vision, which for the next 20 years he expressed primarily in a series of paintings known as the Human Comedy. These are imaginary architectural compositions, sombre in palette and with small human figures. Their chief feature, exemplified in 13 of the paintings, is a great bed, based on his early memories of that of Mary Queen of Scots, which he had seen at Holyrood (e.g. ...

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