• L
  • Ernest Stephen Lumsden
James McBey
© The Estate of Ernest Lumsden

Reference URL

James McBey 1920
  • Scottish Art
This dramatic portrait shows the printmaker James McBey. Despite a poverty-stricken childhood in the north of Scotland, McBey embarked on an artistic career which made him internationally successful. Almost entirely self-taught as an artist, his work helped to revive the practice of etching in Britain during the early Twentieth Century. Adventurous by nature, McBey travelled widely in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central and North America. He worked as a war artist in France and Egypt during the First World War. Lumsden’s portrait suggests something of the sitter’s strong personality. He has captured McBey’s striking features and intense gaze, depicting him in the process of working.

Glossary Open


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.


An image pressed or stamped onto paper or fabric. This encompasses a wide variety of techniques, usually produced in multiples, although one-off prints, known as monoprints, are also included. The term is also applied to photographic images.

Etching, Print


  • Acc. No. GMA 407
  • Medium Etching on paper (49/50)
  • Size 25.20 x 29.30 cm (paper 29.20 x 34.80 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by Mr Kenneth Sanderson 1943