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James McIntosh Patrick.

July 26, 2021

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Wandering around the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool a while ago, I had forgotten this painting (below) ‘Springtime in Eskdale’ by James McIntosh Patrick, but soon got a sense of how comforting it was to come across it again. For me his work has strains of Lucian Freud, Stanley Spencer and Pieter Bruegel all rolled into one. I love the perspective, use of colour and how James paints a tapestry of walls and fields that encourages our eyes to linger, explore and visually wander down those same lanes, that he painted back in 1935.

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James is regarded as one of the greatest Scottish painters of the 20th Century. Born in Dundee in February 1907, his work has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. His father and brother were both architects and it was no real surprise when he enrolled in the Glasgow School of Art in 1924.

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By 1927 he was selling etchings in London, and he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy whilst still studying.  He left the Glasgow School of Art in 1928 and had won many prizes for portraiture and landscapes, and the prestigious James McBey Prize for Etching.  The success of his paintings during the 1930s established his reputation, with many acquisitions made by public galleries and institutions.  Since then his work has been displayed regularly at major exhibitions. I love his use of light here depicting Dundee High School.

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In 1940, James McIntosh Patrick was called up into service with the Camouflage Corps, and was stationed in Africa during the Second World War.  Upon his return to civilian life, he concentrated on exhibiting in Scotland, especially at the Royal Scottish Academy, and in 1957 became a full Academician. He started painting outdoors and loved it, which changed his working methods from then on. His work is full of detail and rich textures.

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He captures the landscape around his hometown of Dundee so well. The light and shape of the hills and understands the movement of the land, it’s undulations and grassy patch-work fields.

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The light and colours here are beautiful. We can sense that mid afternoon sunshine and the feeling of the summer months approaching.

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Summer at last, but soon comes more wintery climes.

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Patrick loved to paint out of doors, believing that his landscapes could encourage people to appreciate nature: “I don’t suppose there is much sentimentality about my paintings, but I have a deep feeling that Nature is immensely dignified when you are out of doors. I am struck by the dignity of everything.”

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By the 1950’s he had perfected his style and technique in outdoor landscape painting and began recording his beloved Angus countryside on canvas, working in all seasons and all weather conditions.

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In the same way that Bruegel’s ‘Hunters in the Snow’ captures my attention in its use of space and the aspect of the landscape. The same happens for me in this last piece ‘Winter In Angus’ acquired by The Tate Gallery in the same year that it was painted, 1935, when James was just 28 years old. Stunning !

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The Courier newspaper announced that some of James early drawings had been rediscovered.

Long may his work be rediscovered, I’ve certainly enjoyed doing just that.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. tonyhannaford permalink
    July 26, 2021 2:21 pm

    Thanks for all your posts – always interesting, informative and life-affirming!

    All the best,

    Tony.

    01:11 Design 65 Aspenlea Road London W6 8LH

    07967 302 321

    http://www.01eleven.co.uk http://www.anthonyhannaford.co .uk

    >

    • July 26, 2021 2:31 pm

      Cheers Tony, always great to hear when they work for more than just me lol

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