Design for a railway poster
James McIntosh Patrick
Watercolour on paper
30 × 45.5 cm
54 × 68 × 2 cm
Signed bottom right
Ⓒ The Artist's Estate. All Rights Reserved 2019/Bridgeman Images
James McIntosh Patrick ARSA RSA, 1907-1998
The son of an architect, Patrick was born in Dundee and displayed an early aptitude for art, learning to etch before enrolling in 1924 at Glasgow School of Art, where he won a host of prizes and a post-diploma scholarship. Edward Baird was a fellow student, and the two became firm friends. From his student days Patrick concentrated on minutely detailed panoramic views of the landscape, and this preference remained a constant feature of his work. Even before he finished his studies in Glasgow, in 1928, Patrick's etchings had attracted the attention of London dealers, and the previous year he had been contracted, for an annual fee of £200, to produce plates for publication. However, by 1930 the great etching boom of the previous thirty years or so had been killed off by the Wall Street Crash and the beginning of the Depression, and Patrick turned to oil and watercolour. He produced drawings of local landmarks for the Dundee Courier as well as a series of views for the Dundee postcard publisher Valentine. At the same time he took up part-time teaching at the city's Duncan Jordanstone College of Art; his association with the college lasted for over sixty years.
Patrick had early success with his paintings, a work being purchased for the Tate Gallery in 1935. Reminiscent of Bruegel, it was to be the first of a lifelong series of meticulously detailed pastoral landscapes. In the 1930s and 1940s most of Patrick's landscapes were a mixture of reality and imagination - a synthesis of several scenes, built up from a variety of drawings. After service in the Camouflage Corps during the Second World War he took to painting en plein air, having previously composed views in the studio after outdoor sketches. The super-realist detail remained constant, however.
He was elected ARSA in 1949 and RSA in 1957. He had important one-man exhibitions, including one at Dundee Coty Art Gallery in 1967, ad in 1987 a major retrospective exhibition of his work was held in Dundee, Aberdeen and Liverpool.