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Storytelling in Miniature

Donald Shaw MacLaughlan
In 1929 the art historian James Laver wrote of Donald Shaw MacLaughlan (1876–1938):

“Every process of etching technique, every stage in the production of the finished work, is treated by him almost as part of a religious rite. … Most modern etchers know how to print, very many of them do their own printing, but few perhaps bestow upon the process the care and labour expended by MacLaughlan. Not content with the mere printing, he always grinds and prepares his ink himself, rightly claiming that some plates need a stiffer ink than others, that sometimes the appropriate tint is warmer, sometimes colder, and that it is only the etcher himself who can properly decide.” (James Laver, A History of British and American Etching, London: Ernest Benn Limited, 1929, pp. 120–121)

MacLaughlan was born on a farm in Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1876. Fourteen years later, his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Boston. While he began his artistic studies in Boston, he went on to study at the École de Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1898. He continued to live and work in Europe, primarily in France and Italy, where he produced his most memorable artworks. He died in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 1938.