James McClure & Son’s Art Galleries
James McClure & Son’s Art Galleries, 68, St. Vincent Street.—
The business now carried on in the name of James McClure & Son is old-established, having been founded over sixty years ago, namely, in 1825. At first it was conducted in premises in Argyle Street, next in Buchanan Street, and for ten years at 90, Vincent Street, from which they have just removed to their present address.
In the year 1847 the firm had the honour of receiving royal recognition, in the form of a warrant to use the style, Printsellers, Carvers, and Gilders to the Queen. And again, in 1884, a similar warrant was granted to the present representative, Mr. W. H. McClure.
Their showrooms, which are most legitimately designated “art galleries”, are spacious and handsome, and are always well stocked with choice engravings, etchings, &c. Occasionally important works by celebrated artists are exhibited, with a view to publication.
The exhibition of Sir Noel Paton’s picture, “The Choice” has just closed after a run of four months. Regarding this remarkable work the Academy writes : “Its subject is the Christian choice of Hercules. It depicts Humanity under the familiar type of a youthful and mail-clad soldier tempted by the varied and importunate appetites of the world, which are personified under the figure of a seductive, luridly beautiful woman, who holds aloft a flaming goblet of ruddy wine. The face of this figure, full of an imperious charm, is thrown backwards, with its masses of dark voluminous curls, amid whose luxuriance are set a few roses of dusky crimson, overblown and ready to fall in sudden ruin — one petal already fluttering from them towards the earth. Her bare arms are adorned with gold and gems ; round her naked neck is clasped a circlet of antique coins figured with the heads of the great mythic monarchs of the kingdoms of the world and their glory; a kirtle of gaudy green half veils the exuberant curves of her body ; the contours of her lower limbs are seen through folds of a changeful yellow drapery, which flashes in its shadows into an angry red ; and from her shoulders depends a curiously fashioned lute — that instrument of her enchantment whose notes the souls of men hear and follow, ‘as a bird the fowler’s pipe.’ Around her is the blackness of the sky of night ; behind and beneath her a yawning gulf, through whose obscurity the eye can find no bottom, and into which there juts a wild and craggy promontory, which is lit up lividly by the unseen nether fires. Near the temptress, in a lonely shadowed comer of the foreground — where the very poppies of oblivion themselves are withered and drooping, and ready to die — lies a skeleton swathed still in dimmed splendour of quaintly fashioned doublet, its hooded fool’s-cap fallen from the head, and the skull grinning forth upon the struggle in front. Then, towards the left, the canvas brightens about the form of the youthful warrior, who turns from the temptress, and in the very action plants his mailed foot upon the coils of a terribly rendered snake, crushing the foul thing into loathly death ; casts off in horror the eager hands that would detain him, yields himself to the heavenly guide who hovers on white wings above amid the celestial blue, prepares resolutely to tread the rocky upland path, where in the distance you see a vision of the ‘pure lilies of eternal peace.’”
Parties visiting Glasgow, whether for business or pleasure, ought, if possible, to spare time and go and inspect James McClure & Son's fine collection.
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