Frances Macdonald MacNair was born near Wolverhampton but in 1890 her family moved to Glasgow. Frances and her older sister Margaret enrolled at Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and took drawing classes. There they met fellow students Charles Rennie Mackintosh and James Herbert MacNair. By 1894 the Macdonald sisters had left GSA and established a studio where they made (often collaboratively) metalwork, embroideries, jewellery and craft items. They were also beginning to collaborate on similar work with Mackintosh and MacNair. They soon became known as ‘The Four’. In 1899 Frances and James married. 'The Four' developed international reputations and in 1902 exhibited at the great International Exhibition of Decorative Art in Turin. Frances taught at both Liverpool and Glasgow schools of art.