James Pittendrigh MacGillivray was a successful and well-known sculptor, poet, painter, printmaker and photographer. Born in the village of Port Elphinstone, Aberdeenshire, MacGillivray trained as a sculptor in Edinburgh and Glasgow. During the 1870s he came into contact with the Glasgow Boys, a group of young artists under whose influence MacGillivray took up painting. In 1886 he married painter Frieda Röhl. Throughout his career MacGillivray mainly worked as a sculptor in bronze, but after the death of his wife in 1910 and his daughter in 1917 he focussed increasingly on poetry and photography. MacGillivray was an outspoken nationalist and a supporter of Home Rule. He was also known for his difficult character which sometimes alienated him from both the public and fellow artists.