McClelland Barclay (1891-1943) was one of the best known and successful American artists of the first half of the twentieth century. Born in St. Louis, he was a student of H.C. Ives, George Bridgman and Thomas Fogarty. Barclay was a painter, an illustrator, a sculptor and a jewelry designer. His illustrations appeared on the covers of many national magazines, as well as on Naval posters for the first and second World Wars. His McClelland Barclay Art Company (1930s) produced numerous small household items, including, of course, bookends. Barclay died in action as a naval officer in the second World War, but his art lives on. Online exhibits of his art can be viewed at The Naval History and Heritage Command, Navy Yard, Washington DC and National Museum of American Illustration, Newport RI.
Barclay bookends feature a variety of subjects – nudes, toadstools, fish, the Greek god Pan, Ivy leaves, bears, horseheads, a number of dogs, and others. Some were produced by Barclay’s art company and some by other foundries. “Buddy, The Original Seeing Eye Dog” is one that is seen frequently. It was originally produced by McClelland Barclay, probably in response to Buddy’s death in 1938, in a large version (8.5 inches) and in a smaller version (7 inches). The Seeing Eye Dog Foundation in New Jersey has both versions in their collection. Later, the Dodge Company produced copies that do not have the McClelland Barclay signature.