MacBryde's life and career are inextricably linked with Robert Colquhoun. Born in Maybole in Ayrshire, MacBryde met Colquhoun at Glasgow School of Art, where he studied from 1932 to 1937. MacBryde had the more dominant personality of the pair, and a highly-strung temperament. His works are generally smaller than Colquhoun's and are mainly still lifes. He had a fine sense for colour and formal composition.