McClelland Barclay began his career as a painter, publishing in prestigious magazines like Ladies' Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. This would eventually lead to the founding of The McClelland Barclay Art Company, a brand that would produce decorative arts, jewelry and other luxury items.
He was a classically trained artist.
At the start of World War II, Barclay was commissioned by the U.S. Naval Reserve to design unique camouflage.
As a Lt. Commander, he continued his work in posters, camouflage and battlefield correspondence until the LST he was aboard was torpedoed off the Solomon Islands in 1942.
These lovely vintage bookends date to 1932, and depict playful seals balancing balls on their noses. The pieces are bronze plated and have been cast from the same mold, so they are essentially identical.
Both seals show some wear, including dark spots and some areas of verdigris and places in which the bronze has come off. The finish on one seal exhibits some subtle crazing and has a hairline crack along the neck, though it does not comprise the structural integrity of the piece.
Each bookend is lined with green felt on their bellies and tails, though the front-flippers remain unlined. Overall, the bookends remain in good vintage condition.
A hallmark on each seal's lower-left side reads "©McClelland Barclay" and is adjacent to an embossed mark reading "1932©".
The quality of his work and the fact that it was only manufactured for a limited time period, adds enormously to the collectability of McClelland Barclay pieces.
Measurements: Each bookend is 6 ¾" long, 6 1/8" tall, 4 3/8" wide, 1 lb., 14 oz. Total weight of set: 2 lbs., 4 oz.