About this artwork

From about 1900 Macdonald began to produce larger, independent watercolours alongside her craftwork. Here, a figure is seemingly asleep and may be dreaming, while above her stands a row of eight heads or masks which are perhaps part of her dream. The subject may have been inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck’s play ‘The Blue Bird’, which was performed in Glasgow in autumn 1910. Also, stylistically it owes much to the work of Aubrey Beardsley and the Dutch artist Jan Toorop, both of whom had a huge impact on Glasgow artists at the time. In 1912 Macdonald exhibited the work alongside two other watercolours in Edinburgh. They were very well received with a reviewer for the Glasgow Herald considering them “decoratively exotic fantasies born as it were in another sphere”.

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Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh

Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh

Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh was, alongside her husband Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of the key figures in the emergence of the ‘Glasgow Style’ in the 1890s. Born near Wolverhampton, she settled in Glasgow in the late 1880s. Margaret and her sister Frances enrolled at Glasgow School of Art, where they met Charles Rennie Mackintosh and James Herbert MacNair. By the mid-1890s the sisters had established a studio and soon began to collaborate with Mackintosh and MacNair. The four artists quickly cemented their international reputations. Frances Macdonald and MacNair married in 1899, and Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald married in 1900. However, owing to Mackintosh’s deteriorating health health, Margaret spent her time looking after him and so made few works after 1914.