James Huck was born in 1875 in Lasswade and grew
up in Galashiels, Scotland. He was one of nine children, the
son of Jane Brunton and John Huck a mole catcher. A decendent
of the Hucks of Westmorland (Cumbria). He became a successful
artist and worked at the Glasgow School of Art becoming Assistant
Director in 1926. He was popular with his students and described
as down to earth, no-nonsense man. He was a naturist, spiritualist
and believed that his family could be traced back to the ark.
These unusual ways were hinted at in an article from Glasgow
Glasgow News. Glasgow Folk - Mr James Huck, 11 February
'Art is long, and so is the
period of training and waiting before success comes with
all its laurels. Just now waiting seems to be longer than
usual for painting and sculpture and even etchings are
regarded luxuries, the first to be sacrificed when hard times
come knocking on the door. But longer far than the training and
waiting is the backwards look to the origins of design.
Mr James Huck, whose teaching methods like his temperament are
not conventional, is never more happy than when studying
the ideas of ancient Egypt or ancient Greece. He is saturated
with the old, though noted for his modernity. It is not by
way of conscious contrast, and certainly not out of disrespect
for the past. Was there ever a borderer who lacked respect
for the past, they are steeped in it from infancy and retain
it all their life.
Mr James Huck is of Galashiels. At School
he was a good scholar by sheer insistence and a drawer by instinct.
As he grew, the educational side of art took hold of him and
while still young established in Gala a school of art training
which later developed into the South of Scotland Technical
College. After Scotland he sought experience in Italy, Paris,
Germany, and won high honours in drawing, painting and figure.
Then he settled in London but Glasgow called him back to
teach in the School of Art and become Assistant Director.
Huck is the favourite of the Literary Society Secretaries,
for his lectures, which form one of his chief amassments, are
lighted by a quaint humour which throws no shadows upon their
essentially educative purpose. With 1200 students from all
over Scotland, a man with an open mind learns much of the
humour of life by quiet observation, and Mr Huck's mind is
an ever-open door.'
Exert from a letter from Ian Monie, Principal Librarian
at Glasgow School of Art, 1978
'..Miss V Groundwater,
formerly of our Registrar's Office and daughter of a previous
Secretary of the School, confirmed that he was a spiritualist
and added that his wife was a medium and that he occasionally
arranged a seance for the Art School staff. She did not speak
of his drinking habits but he did organise a successful poached
salmon supper at which each person was served athole brose
made to his own recipe.'
Southern Reporter. James Huck's Obituary, 7 March
By the passing of James Huck, Borderland have lost a
gifted son. He won national fame as an artist. His success was
not thrust apon him, nor engineered by self-boasting, but well
merited. He loved the Borderland with a knowledge and passion,
and many happy hours he spent in nomadic leisure in Yarrow,
where every scene is "an artist's dream of beauty".
Mr Huck was very popular with fellow Borderers in Glasgow.
We have pleasant memories of meeting him at foregathering of
Fishers whose motto is "Behauden to nane".