The Proof



John R. Barclay (1884-1962), The Proof, drypoint, c. 1920, signed in pencil lower left and numbered (no. 9) lower right 9also with the stamp number 3551 . In very good condition, on a laid paper (with the partial watermark Gelder), with margins, 7 7/8 x 7 7/8, the sheet 14 3/8 x 9 7/8 inches, archival matting.

A fine impression of this rarely encountered image, printed in a dark brownish/black ink with substantial drypoint burr, and with a subtle layering of plate tone at the right and bottom of the composition, the left area and the face of the man wiped more thoroughly.

Barclay was a member of the Edinburgh Group, a group of Scottish painters who exhibited together in 1912 and 1913, and then after the war in 1919, 1920 and 1921. Other members of the group included Eric Robertson (1887-1941), William Oliphant Hutchison (1889-1970), and Mary Newbery (1892-1985).

This impressionistic composition of a man holding an etching proof  may be a self portrait of the artist, and the print itself bears evidence of its being a working proof, i.e., it is printed toward the top of the sheet, and has a number of faint fingerprints or ink marks at the edges of the sheet.