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James G. Jeffs

Portrait of George W Shirley

20th Century

Signed charcoal drawing of a male wearing round framed spectacles. It is also signed by the sitter. 


Jeffs was a sincere admirer of Shirley, head librarian at the Ewart Library, Dumfries.  They first worked together when Shirley devised the town's Riding of the Marches Festival in 1932.  Shirley became curator of Dumfries Burgh Museum in 1934 and asked Jeffs to be his assistant.  As his health was failing, most of the real work fell to Jeffs who undertook the colossal task of putting a moribund museum back on its feet, transforming it in the process into one bright, modern and regional in character.  Jeffs created a sculpture portrait plaque of Shirley in 1952.  It is very similar to this 1937 portrait.      


This drawing was among items discovered during renovation of Jeffs home studio, the Yellow Door, High Street, Kirkcudbright in the 1990s. In 1989, when the property was sold, his family presented a large archive to Dumfries Museum.

charcoal on paper
length 542mm, width 342 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
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Dumfries & Galloway Council