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(b Edinburgh, 30 Mar. 1866; d London, 24 Feb. 1941). British painter and designer. In the 1890s he designed posters with his brother-in-law William Nicholson (as ‘J. & W. Beggarstaff’) and these are probably his most famous works. Pryde sometimes supplemented his income at this time by taking small parts on the stage. As a painter he is best known for dramatic and sinister architectural views, with figures dwarfed by their gloomy surroundings. They have something of the spirit of Piranesi's prison etchings, but they are broadly brushed. Pryde—‘tall and handsome’, but ‘dilatory, extravagant, and unproductive for long periods’ (DNB)—added little to his achievement after about 1925. However, in 1930 he designed the sets for Paul Robeson's memorable Othello at the Savoy Theatre, London.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)


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