About this artwork

Frances Macdonald MacNair was one of the celebrated ‘Glasgow Four’, with her sister Margaret Macdonald, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Herbert MacNair, who Frances married in 1899. They developed a distinctive design style, employing organic forms and recurring motifs, such as the rose and the stylised female figure. Frances was fascinated by depicting the female form and women’s experience. Her work is enigmatic and open to multiple interpretations, but Bows may be a comment on female sexuality. While motifs such as bows might usually be positioned to obscure the figure, here they seem to draw attention to the woman’s exposed body. The bow is associated with femininity and adornment, but this is undercut by the suggestion of a more intense, adult reality.

Updated before 2020

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Frances Macdonald MacNair

Frances Macdonald MacNair