Title: Zero. A Sixty Five Pounder Opening Fire (1920)
Size: 21.2cm x 30.3cm plate size
Medium: Etching. Signed & Edition "B" for the artist. Edition of 76 Proofs. Martin Hardie Catalogue Number 201.

Additional Information
In "The Etchings of James McBey" Malcolm Salaman writes "A “Second Palestine Set” was issued in May, 1921, and one of the plates was outstanding as an achievement in dry-point. This was “Zero. A Sixty-pounder opening fire”, and so vital is the suggestion that with the sudden fierce flash of the great gun’s discharge against the nocturnal darkness, one can hear, as it were, the deafening report. The silhouette of the gun, low down on the plate, with the men covering their ears, is wonderful in illusive effect.” In "The Etchings & Dry Points of James McBey", Martin Hardie writes; “One of the guns near Jelil is opening fire at the “zero” hour before dawn in the surprise bombardment on the morning of September 19th, 1918. The gun is in the foreground to the left, silhouetted against the flash of light. On the extreme left are two men, one of whom holds his hands to his ears.”


About the Artist

James McBey was born in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, educated at his village school, and at the age of 15 years became a clerk in the North of Scotland Bank in Aberdeen. He attended evening classes at Grays School of Art, drawing scenes in and around Aberdeen.

After reading an article on etching in an art magazine, McBey borrowed from Aberdeen public library Maxime Lalanne’s treatise on etching Traité de la Gravure a l’Eau-Forte he taught himself how to create etchings on zinc plates. He printed the results on paper using his mother’s washing mangle. By 1910 he had enough confidence in his own ability to abandon banking and spent the summer in Holland where he etched 21 plates. His work was of sufficiently high quality to earn him an exhibition in 1911 at the Goupil Gallery in London and his prints were published in both London and Glasgow.