Macdonald Reid was a prolific painter of rural subjects and genre scenes who regularly contributed to major exhibitions in Britain and on the Continent. Like many of her contemporaries including George Clausen and James Guthrie, her early style was strongly influenced by the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage. Though born in London, the family returned to Edinburgh where she enrolled in classes at the Trustee’s Academy. She began exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy at the age of sixteen. In 1881, she moved back to London with her siblings, John Robertson Reid and Lizzie Reid. She never married, allowing her to devote her life to her art.