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James McBey

  1883 - 1959
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There are 34 prints split over 2 pages
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A Regatta on the Grand Canal, Venice sold

A Regatta on the Grand Canal, Venice   1930

Original drypoint.

Superb signed proof impression with rich drypoint burr, printed with considerable plate tone. From the only edition of 80 signed and numbered proofs.


Venetian Night sold

Venetian Night   1930

Original etching.

Superb signed proof impression printed in brownish-black ink on special blue-toned paper. A particularly beautiful, richly inked impression with considerable plate tone, from the only edition of 81 signed and numbered proofs.
The greatest of all of McBey’s Venetian works and the most sought-after of his prints today.


East River, Sunset sold

East River, Sunset   1934

Original etching.

Excellent impression with pronounced etched line, from the only edition of 80 signed and numbered proofs.
East River, Sunset is James McBey’s first panoramic view of New York city.


[Young girl at the piano] sold

[Young girl at the piano]   1929

Woodcut by Y. Urushibara after J. McBey, printed in colours.

Superb signed proof impression - a particularly fine example with fresh colour, numbered from the only edition of approximately 50 signed and numbered proofs.



James McBey was born the illegitimate son of Scottish peasants. Abandoned by his father, he was raised by his mother and her family in abject poverty, in the harsh, bleak countryside of Buchan, close to the north sea coast line. At the age of fifteen he gained employment with a bank in Aberdeen and from then on supported himself, his mother, and grandmother until his mother’s suicide in 1906. With no remaining family ties, James McBey now embarked upon a career as a professional artist – a career which was to propel him far from his humble origins to great financial success and international fame.

Self-taught as an etcher, James McBey is widely regarded as the leading figure of the British Etching Revival. His work dominated British etching during the early part of the 20th century and the popularity of his prints was without parallel. A single impression of his etching Dawn, The Camel Patrol Setting Out, realised the highest price ever attained for a living etcher’s work in this country when it sold for £445 at auction in 1928. In 1931 James McBey married the American heiress Marguerite Loeb. James Mcbey is often cited as being the most commercially successful Scottish artist between the two World Wars. [more]