James Munro




1940s : The College Years

His formative years and creative aptitude were influenced by his family encouragement and connections with the Brunton Wire Mills and Buchans Potteries. Significantly his brother Alex was first to study at Edinburgh College and the scholarship which enabled him to travel to Greece in 1936. This influenced and informed Jim’s understanding of the role of art in an international context. Particularly the great Scottish tradition of architectural sculpture. Later to be given commercial application and experience by sharing a studio with Alex; within an old railwayman’s cottage Harbour Road.

Enroles at Edinburgh College of Art in 1947

'College revel party' at the ECA : Jim and wife-to-be Nancy plus brother Alex and wife Margaret
Nancy Gordon
Portrait of Nancy Gordon : 1948

Early examples of Jim’s College work show a great sensitivity of draftsmanship, with delicate conté and charcoal; the portraits of his mother & father reveal a tenderness and economy of line which shows a striking skill of critical observation. And complimented by the small sketch of the cherub, lying over the outline of a hand, which could sit well in any collection of renaissance drawings. This traditional approach is juxtaposed poignantly against the purposeful series of energetic ink brush drawings which still survive. Giving a glimpse of what was to come with dynamic bold rendering of outline form and chiarosquro.

Some of the early sculpture presents both the significant crafting skills in modelling and stone carving. Very much in the style taught by Eric Shilsky, head of the Sculpture Department, who promoted the work of Malliol and Despiau as the epitomy of creative excellence.

Driving to France and Italy with student friends both revealed the carnage of WWII and first hand account of the many cultural treasures which survived.

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