The Glasgow Boys
Frances Lincoln Publishers, London, 2008
H/b, 288 pp, 208 c01, 91 b/w
ISBN 978 -0-712-2906-8 40 [pounds sterling]
The revised edition of Roger Billcliffe's groundbreaking 1985 study of the genesis and peak period of the Glasgow Boys is much enhanced by an increased number of colour illustrations and whets the appetite for the large exhibition to be held in Kelvingrove in 2011. A number of the paintings reproduced are works that have been rediscovered over the past 20 years. The revisions to the text and bibliography are relatively small, largely confined to introducing previously lost works by James Guthrie, and to new passages on two artists on the fringes, James Elder Christie and Grosvenor Thomas. The volume remains the essential guide to these Scottish painters, although the chance was not taken to incorporate the research of John Morrison on Dutch influences.
The dark skies in Guthrie's famous A Funeral service in the Highlands and his near contemporary Gypsy Fires are Burning for Daylight's Past and Gone must surely owe something to Josef Israels and Jacob Marls. The composition of Alexander Mann's Hop-pickers returning pays...