McClelland Barclay Biography

World War II artist and illustrator.
McClelland Barclay, USNR  Born in St. Louis.

Barclay's first connection with the Navy came during World War I when he was awarded the Navy Poster Prize by the Committee on National Preparedness, 1917, for his poster "Fill the Breach."

The artist, McClelland Barclay, was a successful commercial artist during the 1930s. he was appointed a Lt. Commander, at the beginning of WWII and worked on camouflage assignments for the Navy until 1942, when he was reported missing after the LST he was aboard was torpedoed in the Solomon Islands.  

Barclay's sailors are notable for their square jaws, well-defined muscles and exceptional physique. Theron MacKay, gunners mate, recalls meeting Barclay in 1943:
"Me and another crew member were cleaning a gun, so we were bare from the waist up. Barclay had his sketchpad and was drawing us. Being an amateur artist myself, I took an interest in what he was doing and asked could I look over his shoulder? Well, he made us look like the finest human specimens that ever were! Really, we were skinny kids with our ribs hanging out. I said to him, 'I don't look like that!' and he answered, 'Well, if I sketched you like you are, it wouldn't make much of recruiting poster, now would it?'"