About this artwork

This painting is from a series begun in 1909, called 'The Human Comedy'. The paintings were inspired by a four-poster bed, reputed to have been slept in by Mary, Queen of Scots, from the palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh. The theatricality of the paintings, with the melodramatic lighting effects and enormous bed dwarfing the human figures, owes much to Pryde's interest in the theatre. In this particular painting, a brooding figure stands beside the tattered bed, with odd bits of furniture - the 'lumber' indicated in the title - scattered about.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Lumber: A Silhouette
  • date created:
    About 1921
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    151.80 x 131.10 cm (framed: 160.20 x 147.50 x 4.20 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1975
  • accession number:
    GMA 1521
  • gallery:
  • 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.