Robert MacBryde lived from 1913 to 1966. He was a painter of the Modernist school and a theatre set designer. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Robert MacBryde was born in Maybole in Ayrshire. After leaving school he worked for five years in a factory, then studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1932 to 1937. While there he met a fellow student, Robert Colquhoun. The two went on to become lifelong friends and artistic collaborators, becoming known as "the two Roberts". After completing his studies at the GSA, MacBryde travelled widely in France and German.
He moved to London in 1939, where he set up a joint studio in which he was later joined by Robert Colquhoun, and the two shared a house with fellow artists John Minton and Jankel Adler. Despite the war, MacBryde held his first one-man show at London's Lefevre Gallery in 1943. MacBryde's style was heavily influenced by Graham Sutherland and John Piper, and he became an increasingly well known member of what became known as the Modernist school of art, producing many brightly coloured Cubist works. Later on, his work tended more towards darker tones and a more Expressionist approach to still life paintings and landscapes.
After the Second World War, MacBryde worked with Colquhoun to produce a number of theatre set designs. They included sets for Sir John Gielgud's Macbeth; for a production of King Lear at Stratford on Avon; and for Massine's Scottish ballet Donald of the Burthens, produced by the Sadler's Wells Ballet at Covent Garden in 1951. Robert MacBryde died in 1966 in Dublin following a road accident.