McCance had an eclectic career. Although he trained in Glasgow from 1911-15 he moved to London in 1920 and shortly afterwards produced what are probably the first abstract paintings by a Scottish artist, influenced by Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists. He later worked as a book illustrator (and art critic) and was controller of the celebrated the Gregynog Press in Wales. Later still he lectured on typography and book production. This is an early self-portrait, painted when the artist was twenty-two.