About this artwork

Though Pryde lived in London from 1890, his paintings are nonetheless infused with memories of his native Edinburgh. The column on the left is similar to the Monument to Sir Henry Dundas in St Andrew Square. Pryde’s love of theatre comes to show in this dramatic interplay of darkness and light, architecture and nature. Tall columns and terrace looking out into the sea create a rectangular frame, whereas the dark clouds close like an arch over the small ship in the distance. The human figures, though shown in the foreground, are dwarfed by the scale of their surroundings.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    An Ancient Harbour
  • date created:
    About 1923
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    63.20 x 49.60 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Bequeathed by Lady Hutchison of Montrose 1941
  • accession number:
    GMA 38
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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James Ferrier Pryde

James Ferrier Pryde

Pryde was born in Edinburgh and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy Schools from 1886 to 1887. He grew up with a love of the theatre and even worked for a time (without much success) as an actor. Living in London from 1890, Pryde and his brother-in-law William Nicholson (portrayed in William Orpen's 'A Bloomsbury Family') set up a partnership as poster artists under the name 'The Beggarstaff Brothers'. Their modern, simplified style revolutionised poster design. As a painter, Pryde specialised in dark interiors and architectural fantasies. The majority of these works were done before 1925, though he did produce some designs for theatre sets later in life.