The Early Life of James McBey: An Autobiography

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Canongate, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 127 pages
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This book is an autobiographical account of the early years of James McBey, the self-taught boy from a humble north-east village who became one of Scotland's most successful and celebrated artists. Writing with charismatic frankness and realism, McBey describes his passionate desire to be an artist, from his first etchings (printed with the help of an old mangle) to the moment when he left a stultifying job to strike out for Holland to create a life of his own.

McBey's journey was not an easy one. Poverty, ignorance, his family's indifference, the petty routines of an Aberdeen bank, his mother's suicide, all these are evoked with gravity, clarity and a lightness of touch - like the etchings themselves - which will long remain in the reader's mind.

Introduced by Nicolas Barker, who edited the original manuscripts, this book offers a real-life portrait of the artist as a young man and establishes James McBey as a gifted prose stylist in his own right.

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User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

Easily one of the best autobiographies I've read. I knew of McBey as a collector of historical papers, but this brief book is his story from the earliest days of his life until the time he left a ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

James McBey (1883-1959) was born near Foveran on the north-east coast of Scotland. McBey's art is represented in the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Victoria and Albert, the Luxembourg Gallery in Paris, and there are major collections of his work in the Boston Public Library, the National Gallery, Washington, and most notably, in the James McBey Room and Library at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

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