The Arts and Crafts Movement in Surrey. A cottage by Sir Edwin Lutyens at Munstead.

William De Morgan tile. Click to visit the Demorgan centre.

Hand, Heart & Soul - section E: Craft and Community

Working in close association brought a collective identity to studio crafts. From Tayport in north Fife to Edinburgh's Old Town, designer-artists shared their ideas. John Duncan painted Celtic murals in a student residence in the capital and led the Old Edinburgh School of Art. On Iona, Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie worked with the island's rich medieval legacy to produce modern work in metalwork and leather.

In 1908 history was enacted in the grand Scottish National Pageant of Allegory, Myth and History held during the Scottish National Exhibition at Saughton Park. One of several pageants, it united a nationwide community of artists, craftsmen and designers. National history was also celebrated in the epic tapestries woven by resettled Morris company weavers at the Dovecot Studio in Corstorphine, Edinburgh, for the homes of the fourth Marquess of Bute. The 1900s also saw the development of the Scottish Guild of Handicraft, started as an association of craftworkers in 1898. Reformed as a labour co-partnership, it moved to Stirling in 1906 to 'assume a more truly Scottish character'. Henry Wyse, a key member of the restructured Guild, would soon settle in Edinburgh and take up ceramic decoration, a craft shared by the Bough Studio under Elizabeth Amour.

The most famous art community was formed in the town of Kirkcudbright in the south-west of Scotland. After Jessie M King and her husband E A Taylor moved there in 1915, fellow artists would join them in the summertime. Some settled for good. King organised local pageants, painted murals in schools and lectured to branches of the Scottish Women's Rural Institute, a new post-war organisation concerned with the encouragement of community and craft.

E15 Alexander Ritchie Firescreen 1900s Private collection

List of exhibits

E1 Embroidered panel
Silks on linen, 1900
George Dutch Davidson (1879-1901) (designer), made by Elizabeth Burt
McManus Galleries & Museum, Dundee
Through art classes at Dundee High School George Dutch Davidson had met artists including David Foggie, Frank Laing and Alec Grieve who were based in Tayport on the south side of the river Tay. This informal local art community, whose membership overlapped with that of the Dundee Graphic Artists Association, included Davidson’s cousin Elizabeth Burt, the sisters Helen and Rosa Baxter and also Stewart Carmichael, based in Dundee.
These artists, with Davidson, produced paintings, drawings and domestic decorative art which had its own local style. Much of it was concerned with pattern, often intricate and based on Celtic or Eastern work. It was largely inspired by, and equally was committed to, textile art. The early death of Davidson, however, meant the abandonment of a proposed embroidery society.

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E2 Three designs for the 1899 Dundee Graphic Arts Association exhibition catalogue
(a) ink on paper
(b) pencil on paper
(c) printed proof
George Dutch Davidson (1879-1901)
McManus Galleries & Museum, Dundee
The Dundee Graphic Arts Association was formed in 1890 and soon became the main exhibiting society in the city. It attracted submissions from the city and by the later 1890s also Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Arbroath. The decorative arts were well represented from 1899, with designs, furniture, textiles and repoussé metalwork ranking alongside paintings, drawings and prints. In 1901 a major memorial display of art and designs by George Dutch Davidson provided a central focus. In 1904 the show, now comprising diverse media, became the ‘Dundee Art Exhibition under the Auspices of the Dundee Art Society’. Thereafter it was simply called the Dundee Art Society.

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E3 La Rosière: Souvenir of George Dutch Davidson
Watercolour on paper, 1901
Alec Grieve (1864-1933)
McManus Galleries & Museum, Dundee
Alec Grieve had studied art in Paris at the Academie Colarossi. Based in Tayport he regularly exhibited in Dundee. A friend of the Davidson family, he contributed this watercolour to the memorial display at the 1901 Dundee Graphic Arts Association exhibition. Grieve’s watercolour pays tribute to the young man whose art had blossomed for such a short time. The Dante figure is a reference to Davidson’s love of poetry and Florentine art. The poem was written by another Tayport friend, the amateur artist Charles Mills, as his own personal contribution.
In 1905 Grieve would become a founder member of the Tayport Artists’ Circle which included David Foggie, Frank Laing and Dundonian Stewart Carmichael.

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E4 Where the Oxlips and the Nodding Violets Grow
Watercolour and body colour on paper, c. 1901
Helen Kippen
McManus Galleries & Museum, Dundee
Helen Baxter, like George Dutch Davidson, was a pupil of John Duncan. She had worked on Duncan’s decoration of the Common Room of Ramsay Lodge in Edinburgh in the mid-1890s. Duncan also engaged the Baxter sisters to provide head and tail-piece decorations for The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal, published by Patrick Geddes & Colleagues in 1895-96. Geddes held the part-time chair in Botany at University College, Dundee (part of the university of St Andrews) from 1889 to 1919, and through him and John Duncan connections were maintained until the later 1890s.
In 1901 Helen Baxter married a local physician, John Kippen. She continued to work on her decorative art and exhibit with the Dundee Graphic Art Association under her married name. Their Tayport home, like that of many an Arts and Crafts artist, was called ‘The Homestead’.

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E5 Model for the Witches Well, Castlehill, Edinburgh
Wax, 1894
John Duncan (1866-1945)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
Ramsay Garden was completed in 1894. In that year Patrick Geddes asked Duncan to make a well, or drinking fountain, to be located on the west facade of the Castlehill reservoir, next to Ramsay Garden. The site marked the spot where more than three hundred women accused of being witches were burnt to death in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The well was cast in bronze in 1895. A plaque beside the well explains the duality of Duncan’s Celtic design: ‘The wicked head and serene head signify that some used their exceptional knowledge for evil purposes while others were misunderstood and wished their kind nothing but good. The serpent has the dual significance of evil and wisdom. The Foxglove spray further emphasises the dual purpose of many common objects’.
As the well presumably would have been made by the lost wax process, this model may in fact be a later cast made from the bronze prior to site installation.

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E6 The Enchanted Capital of Scotland
Watercolour and ink on paper, c. 1943-44
Jessie M King (1875-1949)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
This is one of a number of illustrations for King’s late book of the same title, published by Plaid Publications in 1945. The public face of Ramsay Garden, viewed from Princes Street Gardens to the north, is here presented as part of a magical city.

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E7 Quaich
Silver, 1900
John Duncan (1866-1945) (designer), made by James Ramsay, Dundee
McManus Galleries & Museum, Dundee
John Duncan was born in Dundee and studied art in Antwerp and Dusseldorf. Although based in Edinburgh for much of the early and mid-1890s, he maintained a Dundee studio and a wider city presence there in the later 1890s when he led design classes at both University College and the Dundee Technical Institute. The design of this Celtic quaich, or drinking vessel, dates from this time.

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E8 Ramsay Garden, Edinburgh, southern section from the south
Image courtesy of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
Built next to Edinburgh Castle by two Edinburgh architects, Stewart Henbest Capper (1860-1925) and A G Sydney Mitchell (1856-1930), Ramsay Garden was the centre of the 1890s Celtic revival community in Edinburgh. Capper designed the south and west section in 1892, and Mitchell the north and east the following year. Capper's buildings were all new, but Mitchell wrapped his adjacent building round the octagonal former ‘goosepie’ home of the eighteenth-century poet, Allan Ramsay, for a new student hall of residence. In addition, Mitchell restored a row of terraced housing in his east section.
The heart of the complex, which provided apartments of various sizes for professionals including teachers and artists, was the courtyard. This gave it a village atmosphere and a deep sense of the communal ideal desired by Geddes. The extraordinary height and massed detailing of the housing echoed the atmosphere of seventeenth-century Scottish domestic architecture. Geddes himself took a fine apartment on the third floor, turning, as he would write, his ‘castle in the air’ into a castle of stone.
The Celtic revival embraced culture in its widest sense - art, craft, literature, poetry, song and music which were reflected in the publications of Patrick Geddes & Colleagues, notably The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal. Another important feature was the Old Edinburgh School of Art, housed in Ramsay Lane and on the lower floors of Ramsay Lodge overlooking Princes Street Gardens. Directed by John Duncan, the school was concerned with establishing a modern Celtic art and design. In addition to mural work and classes on the crafts, students were encouraged to collect historic artefacts associated with the Old Town. The future was to be built on the past.

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E9 The Taking of Excalibur
Oil on canvas, c. 1895
John Duncan (1866-1945)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
John Duncan, working with Old Edinburgh School of Art assistants Helen Hay and Helen Baxter (later Helen Kippen), decorated the interior of the Common Room of Ramsay Lodge in 1894-96. This ‘most elaborate Celtic illumination in the world’ (Patrick Geddes) combined scenes by Duncan illustrating Scottish culture with panels of Celtic pattern by Hay. Seven panels were painted, with a further five in a less Symbolist style added in the 1920s.
The third in the series, following The Awakening of Cochullin and The Combat of Fionn, was The Taking of Excalibur of which this is a copy. Set on Duddingston Loch at the foot of Arthur's Seat, the painting shows Arthur ‘in the act of taking Excalibur’.
A contemporary account, published by Geddes, continues ‘the three queens, the friends of Arthur, are near, as always in his times of trial. Merlin accompanies Arthur and bends at the oars. In the background, Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, is inwardly glad, as the wizard’s oars are trammelled with the water-weed. Morgan Le Fay, Arthur's sister, gives the sword into his hands’.

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E10 The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal, Spring, Edinburgh, 1895
Private collection
The Evergreen, to be published in four volumes between spring 1895 and late autumn 1896, was an international book on the arts and culture. It was issued ‘in the Lawnmarket of Edinburgh published by Patrick Geddes & Colleagues and in London by T Fisher Unwin’. Its illustrations, gathered by the artist James Cadenhead, who lived in Ramsay Garden, mostly came from the artists of the Geddes circle. The title page (and leather cover) was designed by Charles Mackie who, with John Duncan, painted murals in the Geddes apartment at Ramsay Garden in the mid-1890s.

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E11 The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal, The Book of Summer, 1896
Private collection
The later volumes were published by Patrick Geddes & Colleagues, T Fisher Unwin, and also in Philadelphia by J B Lippincott Co.

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E12 Scots Ballads, by Robert Burns, Limner, London, 1939
Private collection
This is the commercial published edition of a fine 1930s illuminated manuscript for the architect Alexander Hunter Crawford, brother of David S Crawford, by his friend the artist Robert Burns. Burns, before his appointment as head of painting at Edinburgh College of Art, had been part of the Geddes circle and contributed to The Evergreen. A de luxe version on vellum was also issued. The book and manuscript acknowledge the friendship and knowledge of Scots ballads shared by Burns’s late friend Bruce Home, artist, collector and first curator of the Edinburgh city museum.

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E13 The Song of Bride by Isobel Wylie Hutchison, London, 1927
Kyle and Carrick Civic Society
Isobel Wylie Hutchison was a pioneer woman explorer, botanist, filmmaker, poet and novelist. Her fame rests principally on her Arctic travels and in particular her travels and filming in Greenland and Alaska in the late 1920s and 1930s. The Song of Bride is an example of the re-emergence or persistence of Celtic ideas in poetry. The romantic story of Bride, said to have been either carried by angels (or walked) from Iona to Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth, was an appropriate for a traveller. It also attracted the attention of Celtic artists including John Duncan.
This copy was presented in 1930 to Elizabeth Morris, wife of the Ayr architect James A Morris.

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THE RITCHIES OF IONA
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941) was born in Tobermory on Mull and brought up on
Iona where, after a career as a marine engineer, he was appointed custodian of the island’s historic monuments. This seasonal work allowed him time to study at Glasgow School of Art where he met Euphemia Thomson (1862-1941), a fellow student from the island of Shuna. They married in 1898 and settled on Iona where they established a craft workshop which produced items inspired by the rich heritage of the island. Their brass and silverware, together with textiles and leather goods, were purchased by tourists and other island visitors. The designs were large inspired by details from surviving medieval grave slab designs to be found at Iona’s abbey, particularly the birlinn, or sailing galley, and foliated forms. Alexander Ritchie also wrote several guidebooks to the island where they remained for life, becoming friends with many of the regular visitors such as the painters John Duncan and F C B Cadell.

E14 Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie with their dogs Kim and Fifie in the garden of Shuna Cottage, Iona, c.1915-20
In this photograph Euphemia Ritchie wears jewellery including a belt buckle made by herself. Although the photograph postdates the 1900s, she wears the fashions of that period.
Photograph courtesy of E Mairi MacArthur

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E15 Firescreen
Three repoussé brass panels set in carved oak frames, 1900s
E15 Alexander Ritchie Firescreen 1900s Private collectionAlexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
E Mairi MacArthur
This screen, of which a variant design is also known, was entirely the work of Alexander Ritchie, including the carved wooden frame. In this example, each of the three panels has a different foliated cross design. The central panel bears the Gaelic saying Tuig thusa am bàta agus tuigidh am bàta thu (understand the boat and the boat will understand you).

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E16 Decorative tray
Repoussé brass, 1900s
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
Private collection
The screen has a design whose dominant parts are closely based on a grave slab in Iona Abbey.

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E17 W G Welch (of Lancaster), The Celtic Church: Iona
The introduction to the book states that the ‘beautiful Celtic design’ is by Euphemia Ritchie, c. 1910
E Mairi MacArthur

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E18 Bible
Bound in morocco
Cover designed and worked by Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941), 1920s
Private collection
The bible is shown with an accompanying note by Ritchie outlining his local design sources. These notes would be freely given with such a purchase.

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E19 Brooch
Silver
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
E Mairi MacArthur
The brooch is decorated with a birlinn, or galley, a particularly popular motif with the Ritchies.

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E20 ‘M’ brooch
Silver, hallmarked Glasgow 1929
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
E Mairi MacArthur

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E21 Tea caddy or sugar spoon
Silver
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
E Mairi MacArthur
The handle has boss, spiral and interlace decoration on the handle and spiral decoration at foot of the bowl.

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E22 Frances Balfour, Lady Victoria Campbell: A Memoir
Cover designed by Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941) by 1910
E Mairi MacArthur

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E23 Iona Celtic Art ring brooch
Silver with inset enamel, hallmarked Birmingham 1939
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
E Mairi MacArthur
The ring is inscribed with the Gaelic motto A h-uile latha sona dhuit (May all your days be happy).

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E24 Sugar bowl embossed with a banded design of Lindisfarne birds
Silver, 1936
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
Fiona MacSporran and Gordon Foster

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E25 Cream jug
Silver
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
Fiona MacSporran and Gordon Foster
The jug is embossed with a design of lotus leaves and the handle a zoomorphic bird.

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E26 Casket
Brass
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
Fiona MacSporran and Gordon Foster
The casket is embossed with a birlinn within an entrelac border.

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E27 Cigarette case
Silver, 1913
Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941)
Fiona MacSporran and Gordon Foster
The case, a popular gift, is embossed with a birlinn and entrelac decoration.

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E28 A and E Ritchie, Iona Past and Present with Maps, 1928
Cover design by Alexander Ritchie
Private collection

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E29 Purse
Leather, late 1920s
Euphemia Ritchie (1862-1941)
Iona Macdonald
The purse was made as a gift for Jean McDonald, the Ritchies’ housekeeper on Iona, whose initials have been worked into the flap. The bird and interlace design is based on illuminated manuscript decoration.

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PAGEANTS
Bringing history to life through masques and pageants was part of community Arts and Crafts. They united a historical sense of theatre with artistic expression and, not least, fun and entertainment for all involved. In London members of the Art Workers' Guild presented Beauty's Awakening in 1899.
In Scotland Francis Newbery directed a number of masques, including A Masque of the City Arms of 1903 and The Masque of Science and Art. In the summer of 1908 an extraordinary pageant was held in the grounds of the Scottish National Exhibition at Saughton Park in Edinburgh. The Scottish National Pageant of Allegory, Myth and History brought together artists and society from across the country. Costumes by artists John Duncan (the Celtic Group), Jessie M King (the Arthurian Group) and Phoebe Traquair (the Early Church) were among those reused that October for a Glasgow University pageant.
Having organised small scale theatricals in the 1890s, Patrick Geddes followed this national pageant with his erudite Masque of Learning in Edinburgh and London in 1912-13. Pageants continued to prove popular entertainments, with large and small scale local events taking place in the 1920s.

E30 Postcard photograph showing Jessie M King, as ‘The Angel of the Spirit’ blessing E.A Taylor as ‘Sir Perceval’ in The Masque of Science and Art, 1905
Image © Glasgow City Council
This photograph is from the masque devised by Francis Newbery to celebrate the opening of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College. It was taken three years before Jessie Marion King married designer Ernest Archibald Taylor. The Taylors would direct and perform their own pageants and theatricals after they settled in Kirkcudbright in 1915. They designed and made their costumes for The Masque of Science and Art to celebrate the opening of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College.

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E31 Advertisement for proposed Grand Historical Pageant and Masque to be held in the Scottish National Exhibition, 13 June 1908,
Cover illustration by Cecile Walton
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright
This was the provisional title of the national pageant in January 1908. The advertisement invited participants and support from across the country to celebrate Scotland’s history. A number of committees had been formed. The pageant’s executive committee included E A Walton, James Paterson, Phoebe Traquair and Ramsay Traquair.
Following the pageant, a Masque of the Seasons was to be performed. In this Nature received The Seasons. The advertisement also promised that ‘as a crowning gift, the Old Play of St George and the Dragon’ was to be presented to her ‘by her loyal and loving subjects, Mr Walter Crane, Mr George Walton, Mr George Parlby and a merrie Company’.

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E32 Programme of the Scottish National Pageant of Allegory, Myth and History, Edinburgh, 1908
Collection Paul Stirton
The pageant was a major event for Edinburgh and Scotland involving over 1,000 players. The Allegory of the City of Edinburgh was immediately followed by the Burghs of Scotland, each represented by ‘a man and a maid’ in costumes of the period when their Charters were granted and bearing their burgh banner. Dundee‘s banner was designed by Stewart Carmichael and made by his wife and Mrs Frank Laing.
The first ‘myth’ groups were Celts, led by the figure of Bride, ‘goddess of the Hearth’. Few of the country’s artists, designers and architects did not take part. In addition, many members of the nation’s aristocracy played their ancestors.

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E33 Historical groups from the Scottish National Pageant of Allegory, Myth and History, 1908
Images © Glasgow City Council and a private collection
The pageant and the masque which followed were performed in the grounds of the Scottish National Exhibition. These photographs, taken inside the Exhibition hall, were taken to be published as souvenir postcards. They show a fraction of the total number of performers but indicate the importance of costumes and accessories. John Duncan designed those of the Celtic Group, Jessie M King the Arthurian Group, and Phoebe Traquair the Early Church.

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E34 Programme of The Masque of Learning and its many Meanings, devised and interpreted by Patrick Geddes for the semi-jubilee of University Hall, 1912, published by Patrick Geddes and Colleagues, Outlook Tower, Edinburgh
Private collection
The Masque of Learning, conceived and directed at the Synod Hall, Edinburgh, by Patrick Geddes, celebrated the semi-jubilee of University Hall, the student residences he had established in the city since 1887. Performed by some 500 players in It followed the 1908 Glasgow University pageant, and consisted of ‘an historic Pageant of characteristic scenes illustrative of the development of Higher Education, and of the origins and history of the University - in the widest sense’. After an introductory section on the evolution of man, the main sections outlined 'the great oriental civilisations’, followed by ‘Greek and Roman times, through Celtic and Medieval periods, to the Renaissance and the Encyclopaedic age, and thence to the present day‘. Edinburgh College of Art staff and students provided the sets and the poster was designed by Stanley Cursiter.
The programme involved many people from Edinburgh’s cultural life including artists, musicians, architects and their families.

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E35 Odysseus
Chalk on paper, 1912
Robert Burns (1869-1941)
Collection Martin A Forrest
This costume design for Patrick Geddes’s The Masque of Learning and its many Meanings was designed for William Caldwell Crawford, a friend of the artist.

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E36 By the bonnie banks o’ Fordie or There were three maidens pu’d a flower
Oil on canvas, c. 1897
Charles Hodge Mackie (1862-1920)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
Mackie, like John Duncan, was much involved in its art activities of the circle of Patrick Geddes in the 1890s and contributed to modern Celtic visual culture. He designed the covers of The Evergreen and, with Duncan, contributed illustrations to it and painted murals in the Geddeses’ apartment in Ramsay Garden.
Trained in Edinburgh, Mackie visited France in the summers of 1892-94 when he met artists including Paul Serusier and Edouard Vuillard. He suggested Serusier might visit Edinburgh to lead a tapestry class as well as possibly contribute to the mural schemes of Ramsay Garden. Mackie’s paintings were inspired by Scots song and poetry but equally by the decorative sensitivity of the modern French aesthetic he had encountered at first hand. This painting grew from studies in such a style and was to be exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1897 under the title ‘There were three maidens pu’d a flower’.

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E37 Head of an angel, study for Saint Bride
Coloured chalks on brown paper, 1913
John Duncan (1866-1945)
National Gallery of Scotland
This is a preparatory study made by John Duncan for his painting now in the National Gallery of Scotland. It is one of the most beautiful drawings of the Celtic Revival, showing Duncan’s equal admiration for the art of Michelangelo and the rhythm and intricacy of Celtic work.
There are variant stories of Brigid or Bride. In one, used for the 1913 painting, she was transported miraculously from Ireland to Bethlehem to attend the birth of Christ and wrap him in her cloak. This study is for one of two angels who gently carried the white robed saint over seas. In another, and as related by the poet Fiona Macleod in The Evergreen: The Book of Autumn (1895), Bride walks from Iona to Bethlehem. Duncan also painted the latter, and this painting (now McManus Galleries & Museum, Dundee) would illustrate ‘The Coming of Angus and Bride’, one of Donald A Mackenzie’s Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth & Legend (published by Blackie & Son, 1917).

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E38 Cuchulain
Pencil on paper, c. 1917
John Duncan (1866-1945)
National Gallery of Scotland
The drawing is inscribed CUCHULAINN I care not though I last but a day if my name and fame are a power for ever. Cuchulain is one of the great fighting heroes of Irish legend who lived only twenty-seven years. Duncan depicts him here as a forceful presence, girded for battle, his plaid fastened with a Celtic brooch.
The artist had portrayed him in the first panel of the common room decoration at Ramsay Lodge, where, newly awoken and ready for battle ‘he rose up refreshed, stretched his mighty limbs, tossed back his golden locks, and rushed, in the pride of his strength, to meet the advancing foe’. He was a potent symbol of the re-awakening of Scottish culture.
The anthology Lyra Celtica, published by Patrick Geddes & Colleagues in 1896 (and for which Duncan’s assistant Helen Hay designed the cover), opened with Ancient Irish and Scottish poems including ‘Cuchillin in his Chariot’. This drawing, which may relate to the poem, may be a study for a painting exhibited at the 1918 Royal Scottish Academy.

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E39 Rachel Annand Taylor (1876-1960)
Oil on canvas, 1907
John Duncan (1866-1945)
Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Collection
Rachel Annand Taylor was a poet and writer who was born in Aberdeen. During the 1900s she published several books of poetry.
This portrait shows her in front of a tapestry. She is presented as an Arts and Crafts poet in her smock, beads and enamelled jewellery, holding a finely bound book, possibly of a volume of her own poems. It is a particularly beautiful portrait by Duncan, who shared the sitter’s interest in both Celtic and Renaissance cultures. Rachel Annand Taylor would write several books on the Renaissance including Aspects of the Italian Renaissance (1923, introduced by Gilbert Murray), and Leonardo the Florentine: A Study in Personality (1927).

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E40 Tristan and Isolde
Oil on canvas, 1912
John Duncan (1866-1945)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
Tristan and Isolde was viewed by Duncan in Celtic terms, as a romance which predated the Arthurian story of Lancelot and Guinevere. Tristan, the orphaned nephew of Mark king of Cornwall goes to Ireland to be cured of a mortal wound by Isolde. Mark, entranced with Tristan’s account of Isolde, sends him back to woo her on his behalf. Isolde accepts Mark’s proposal, but on the return journey to Cornwall Tristan and Isolde drink a love potion intended for Mark and Isolde. This is the moment which Duncan depicts, a moment of romance matched by colour and pattern.

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E41 Deirdre of the Sorrows
Chalk on paper, laid down, c. 1920
John Duncan (1866-1945)
National Gallery of Scotland
The drawing illustrates an Irish legend. Deirdre of Ulster, sought in marriage by the aged King Conchobhar Mac Nessa, ran away with her lover Naoise. They were tricked into returning by Conchobhar who had Naoise killed and forced Deirdre to marry him. However, she refused to stop mourning for her lover, so the king gave her to the man who had killed Naoise. She is shown by Duncan grieving for Naoise, and would soon kill herself. According to the legend, two pine trees grew out of the graves of Deirdre and Naoise, and later twined into one.
The story inspired J M Synge to write his play, to be finished after his death by his widow and W B Yeats. John Duncan responded to the tale with a stark drawing which encapsulates the grief of Deirdre. The angularity of the pose is accompanied by a use of light and dark and Celtic patterning of background, Deirdre’s hair, bracelet, cloak and background.

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E42 Aoife
Oil on canvas, c. 1943
John Duncan (1866-1945)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
The Children of Lir is an Irish legend which inspired the artist. Aoife was Lir’s sister and also the stepmother of his children. Jealous of the children, she planned to kill them but instead turns them into white swans doomed to wander thus for nine hundred years. They finally received human form when Christianity was established in Ireland. Duncan painted two large academic compositions of the children of Lir but this is a rare, later and more decorative study of the figure of Aoife.
This painting from late in the artist’s career shows his continued interest in the legend.

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THE DOVECOT STUDIO, CORSTORPHINE
The sense of history which underpinned the national romanticism of the Celtic Revival took a different, more traditionalist, form in the tapestries of the Dovecot Studio. In 1909 the fourth Marquess of Bute (1881-1947) began discussions with the
Edinburgh portraitist and military artist William Skeoch Cumming (1864-1929) on the design of a tapestry to furnish the Great Hall at his seat, Mount Stuart on Bute.
Originally to be called The Return from the Chase, the tapestry was to be in the manner of an old hunting tapestry. A new design and weaving workshop was built in the village of Corstorphine, today a western suburb of Edinburgh, to a design by Robert Rowand Anderson. Two weavers, John Glassbrook and Gordon Berry, were recruited from the Merton Abbey weaving workshops of the Morris company. They were joined by four local apprentices. Weaving on The Lord of the Hunt, as the vast tapestry was to be known, commenced in 1912 and, with the interruption of war (in which Glassbrook and Berry lost their lives), was eventually cut off the loom in 1924.

E43 Verdure Piece
Wool tapestry, completed 1938
E43 Alfred Priest, Verdure Piece (detail), 1938, Private collection. Image © Antonia Reeve PhotographyAlfred Priest (1874-1929) (designer), woven by the Dovecot Studio, Corstorphine, Edinburgh
Private collection
The weavers were Richard Gordon, John Loutitt, with director of weaving David Lindsay Anderson. This was the second tapestry designed by Priest for the Dovecot (the first was a figurative panel illustrating the Admirable Crichton) and it is based on the lily pond at Mount Stuart. Verdure was a type of tapestry which depicted pastoral scenes. It was often used as background and considered during the late Middle Ages as inferior to narrative work. This tapestry is both decorative and realistic, and has a charm and simplicity of its own.

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E44 Photograph of The Lord of the Hunt
William Skeoch Cumming (1864-1929) (designer), woven at the Dovecot Studio 1912-16, 1919-24
The Dovecot brought together a number of traditions from Europe and Britain. It used ‘haute lisse’ (or high, upright loom) fine wool weaving as practised historically in Europe and also by the Morris company. Looms, including at least one from the seventeenth century, had been transferred from Merton Abbey in 1912. The design of the first tapestry, which depicted a Highland stag hunt, was highly detailed, with historical costume and nature researched by the artist-designer. There are reflections of the Morris company’s earlier tapestries, from the keen interest in animals, birds and plants to the isolated, static figures found in some of the designs of Edward Burne-Jones. It was the first of five Dovecot tapestries designed by Skeoch Cumming.
Photograph from a private collection

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E45 Photograph of weaving at the Dovecot Studio, Corstorphine
Bute Archive at Mount Stuart
The haute lisse looms which were transferred from the Morris company workshop were seventeenth- and eighteenth-century northern European. The weavers faced the back of the tapestry, viewing the front surface of the tapestry in mirrors.

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E46 Photograph showing the scaling of the cartoon for The Prince of the Gael at the Dovecot Studio, Corstorphine, 1938
Bute Archive at Mount Stuart
The tapestry, the last epic piece to illustrate Scottish history, depicted the Raising of the Scottish Standard at Glenfinnan at the start of the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Designed by Skeoch Cumming, its weaving was to be interrupted by war and, although used to train weavers, it was never to be completed and remains on the loom. It is now part of the visitor centre display at Mount Stuart, Bute. Skeoch Cumming had taken the part of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Standard Bearer in the 1908 Scottish National Pageant.
David Lindsay Anderson, head weaver and in charge of the Studio, is shown during preparation of the full-size cartoon prior to commencement of weaving.

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E47 Portrait of an Artist, William Skeoch Cumming (1864-1929)
Bronze, 1920
James Pittendrigh Macgillivray (1856-1938)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
Skeoch Cumming had trained at the Royal Scottish Academy Life School and worked as a scenery painter for the Theatre Royal before becoming a portraitist and serving in the Boer War. Pittendrigh Macgillvray and William Skeoch Cumming were friends and shared a deep interest in Scottish national history and culture.

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THE SCOTTISH GUILD OF HANDICRAFT
The Scottish Guild of Handicraft was one of two national Arts and Crafts associations formed in Glasgow in 1898. The other was the Scottish Society of Art Workers which seems to have lasted less than eighteen months. The Guild, an ‘Association of Art, Furniture and Metalworkers’, did survive, with a membership which included Phoebe Traquair, Robert Burns, Jessie M King and Henry T Wyse. However, it changed direction in the early 1900s. In 1903 it was registered as an Industrial and Provident Society. It now had its own gallery at 414 Sauchiehall Street, through which members could offer work for sale. Its purpose was now to ‘carry on the industries, businesses, and trades of manufacturers and dealers’. The range of crafts included ‘furniture, metalwork, leaded glass, jewellery, pottery, textiles, pictures and all kinds of artistic products’.
Now strictly ruled by committee, its members held shares in this co-partnership. It was led by a small group including Wyse but also non-craftsmen, notably the Glasgow industrial chemist Robert Maclaurin (1871-1948). Maclaurin led the Guild to Stirling in 1906, where it was hoped that the work would take on a ‘more truly Scottish character’. Accompanying the Guild's transfer to this historic heart of Scotland was a self-sufficient housing development. From 1910 The Homesteads were built to a design by James Chalmers in the western lea of Stirling Castle. Maclaurin took no. 1 The Homesteads as his family home late that year.

E48 John Adams working in the workshops of the Scottish Guild of Handicraft
Image courtesy of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museums
John Adams left his Glasgow home and workshop to join the new Guild in Stirling in 1906. He worked with James Chalmers on the fitting out of the Homesteads, providing fixtures such as copper or brass stove hoods and door furniture as well as domestic tableware - candlesticks, flatware and vessels - for the various households and further afield. Their design transferred ‘Glasgow style’ simplicity to Stirling.

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E49 Bedside cabinet
Wood with gesso, oil paints c. 1902
Henry Taylor Wyse (1870-1951) (designer and decorator), made by William Middleton, Arbroath
Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museums
Henry T Wyse exhibited a range of his ‘simple furniture’ and also landscape paintings with the Scottish Guild of Handicraft in Glasgow but also at exhibitions across the country, including the Dundee Graphic Art Association. William Middleton was a woodworker and furniture maker in Arbroath. Wyse was responsible for the gesso work and painting of the furniture.

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E50 Simple Furniture by Henry T Wyse, Arbroath, 1900
Image courtesy of Arbroath Library
Wyse's interest in nature as a source for his furniture decoration fills the illustrations of his first book, Simple Furniture. The style is intended to be rural, the decoration in either painted gesso on wood or stained glass panels ornamental rather than (to our eyes at least) ‘simple’. This was mainly an advertising book but it also aimed to set a style in furnishing. The furniture, was made ‘entirely by hand by skilled craftsmen’ by William Middleton‘s workshop in Arbroath, and was ‘beautiful but strong’.
With its profuse illustrations the slim book also encouraged its readers to make their own small scale domestic crafts for their homes. Wyse’s three guiding principles were ‘workmanship’, ‘utility’ and ‘design’.
In 1900 Wyse, president and director of the Arbroath Art Club, was teaching art at Arbroath High School. He would follow this book with The Rudiments of Design based on Plant Forms (1901), Modern Methods of Art Instruction (1909) plus others on a range of crafts including embroidery and calligraphy. The book was printed by Brodie & Salmond, proprietors of The Arbroath Herald.

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E51 Correspondence showing the Stirling Homesteads logo, 1910s
Image courtesy of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museums
The Stirling Homesteads Ltd. was established in 1909 and the houses built in 1910. It provided a complex of ten cottages of varying sizes, each with its own productive garden, and a working dairy farm of thirty-five acres. The first tenants were of mixed age and occupations which ranged from a teacher, a type compositor and an industrial chemist (Maclaurin). Such a housing co-partnership was influenced by Glasgow and West of Scotland branch of the Garden Cities Association (which Robert Maclaurin helped set up) and Independent Labour Party’s socialist ideals.
The simplicity of ruralist ideals in Chalmers’s design is captured in the logo.

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E52 Scottish Guild of Handicraft business card belonging to Robert Maclaurin
Image courtesy of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museums

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E53 Scottish Guild of Handicraft membership card
Image courtesy of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museums
The elegant lettering, the work of an anonymous Glasgow designer, has been adapted for this exhibition’s logo.

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E54 Photograph of Robert Maclaurin (1871-1948)
Image courtesy of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museums

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E55 Menu cover for the Arcadian Restaurant, Glasgow
Designed by Jessie M. King (1875-1949)
Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery, University of Glasgow
After the Scottish Guild of Handicraft moved to Stirling in 1906, it maintained a formal Glasgow presence through the Arcadian Restaurant. This served vegetarian food and also operated a gallery for artists. Jessie M King, who also designed menu cards for Catherine Cranston in Glasgow, provided graphic work for menus and advertising.

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E56 Photograph of the 'Whiteflame' fireplace at the home of Robert Maclaurin, 1 The Homesteads, Stirling
Designed by John Adams with Robert Maclaurin, 1910
Image courtesy of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museums
Robert Maclaurin designed the functional ‘Whiteflame’ stoves which were installed in each house in The Homesteads. Adams designed and made the surround and hood for each stove.

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THE ALLANDER POTTERY AND THE HOLYROOD POTTERY
Two potteries, one in Glasgow and the other in Edinburgh, were associated with the people of the restructured Guild of Handicraft. Hugh ‘Ugolin’ Allan (1862-1909) was a Glasgow ceramist with a workshop in India Street. Robert Maclaurin assisted him set up a studio in Milngavie in the 1900s, building him a new gas kiln. The ceramics Allan painted there had richly coloured ‘watercolour’ glazes which in turn would influence the new direction taken by Henry T Wyse. Just after the war, Wyse, still teaching art in Edinburgh, started a ceramics workshop near the school in Boroughloch. Some items were decorated bought-in blanks, a few were thrown and painted. The first items were called ‘Waverley ware’ and were useful domestic pieces including buttons. Renamed the Holyrood Pottery in 1921, the workshop would diversify into metalwork, with ceramic ‘pebbles’ used as ornamentation. He employed female assistants to do much of such repetitive work, including daughters of Robert Maclaurin.

E57 Allander Pottery lampstand
Decorated earthenware, 1908
Hugh ‘Ugolin’ Allan (1862-1909)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Art Galleries

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E58 Allander Pottery vase
Decorated earthenware, 1908
Hugh ‘Ugolin’ Allan (1862-1909)
Glasgow City Council (Museums)

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E59 ‘Waverley Ware’ buttons
Decorated earthenware, 1918-21
Henry Taylor Wyse (1870-1951)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
The buttons were dipped and streaked before firing. Other personal items sold under the ‘Waverley ware’ label included jewellery and mounts for calendars.

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E60 Holyrood Pottery plant pot
Decorated earthenware, 1920s
Henry Taylor Wyse (1870-1951)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

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E61 Holyrood Pottery two-handled bottle
Decorated earthenware, 1920s
Henry Taylor Wyse (1870-1951)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

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THE BOUGH STUDIO AND THE MAK’MERRY POTTERY
The Bough Studio is one of the best known late craft studios. It was started in Edinburgh in 1913 by Elizabeth Amour (1885-1945), a Glasgow School of Art graduate who used the name ‘Bough’ on her own painted wares, adding her initials from 1915. Her early work was particularly wide-ranging in style, and at times close in its staccato quality to the decorations of Annie French and Jessie M King. After the war she was joined in her Rutland Place studio by her brothers John, Arthur and Richard and her sister Chrissie. From about 1921 she took a new studio in Rutland Street where her classes in china painting could be attended by women from the Mak’merry Pottery. This Pottery, started by the founder of the Scottish Women’s Rural Institute, Catherine Blair (1872-1946), and her assistant Betty Wight, gave women the chance to produce cheerful wares for home and for sale.

E62 Illustration of a girl and an apple tree
Ink and gouache on paper, c. 1912
Annie French (1872-1965)
Private collection
Annie French, better known as an illustrator, taught ceramic decoration at Glasgow School of Art in the 1900-14 period. Her ‘dotty’ impressionist style of markmaking influenced Elizabeth Amour.

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E63 Bough Studio pot
Biscuit ware by Bishop and Stonier (‘Bisto’)
Stipple decorated by Elizabeth Amour (1885-1945), 1913
Private collection

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E64 Bowl
Limoges porcelain, the inside painted by Elizabeth Amour (1885-1945) with a design of apple trees and roses and stippled decoration, 1913
Private collection

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E65 Bough Studio jug
Earthenware, decorated by Elizabeth Amour (1885-1945), 1921
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

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E66 Bough Studio plate
Earthenware, decorated by Elizabeth Amour (1885-1945) with a wild rose design in green, pink and blue, with blue banding and centre, 1918
Private collection

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E67 Bough Studio pot
Earthenware, the outside decorated by Richard Amour (1899-1949) with an underglaze design of white camellias and grapes, the rim in purple and the inside in a green glaze, c. 1926
Private collection

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E68 Bough Studio dish
Earthenware, decorated by Elizabeth Amour (1885-1945) with an underglaze design of white camellia, c.1925-26
Private collection

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E69 Bough Studio tureen and cover
Earthenware, decorated by Richard Amour (1899-1949), c. 1928-30
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

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E70 Bough Studio vase
Earthenware, decorated by Richard Amour (1899-1949), early 1930s
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

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E71 Mak’merry quaich
Decorated earthenware, 1920s
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
The quaich was a popular traditional form and suited to a gift item. The blanks were also used by the Bough Studio.

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THE STUDIO, STRATHYRE
Mary Ramsay (1896-c. 1963) trained as an artist at Glasgow School of Art from 1915, where she met fellow students Jessie Wilson (1888-1967) and Maggie McDonald (b. 1889). All three took ceramic decoration as part of their course. In the early 1920s, the Ramsay family settled in Strathyre, a village in Perthshire, where from 1926 Mary Ramsay and Jessie Wilson took the tenancy of The Studio, a building where they could make and display their wares. It was purely a decorating business, with blanks bought in for painting. Mary Ramsay took the pottery for firing to Bo’ness twice each week until 1940.

E72 Jug
Earthenware, decorated with a rose design, 1919
Mary Anderson Ramsay (1896-c. 1963)
Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth and Kinross Council
The jug is decorated with the inscription Elizabeth Her Jug June 2nd 1919 and is one of the earliest known pieces decorated by Ramsay, and preceding the establishment of the Strathyre Pottery.

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E73 Strathyre Pottery jug
Earthenware, decorated with a floral design, 1920s
Jessie D McCulloch Wilson (1888-1967)
Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth and Kinross Council
Jessie Wilson was born in Cupar, Fife, and trained at Glasgow School of Art from 1912. She and another School of Art student, Maggie Henry McDonald, shared lodgings from 1915, to be joined later that year by Mary Ramsay. Jessie Wilson was a needlewoman as well as a ceramic decorator. She was a friend of the illuminator Ailsa Craig and embroiderer Margaret Swanson, co-author of Educational Needlecraft.

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E74 Strathyre Pottery bowl
Earthenware, decorated, 1920s
Mary Anderson Ramsay (1896-c. 1963)
On loan from Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth and Kinross Council
The Strathyre wares were functional but also extremely decorative and quite distinctive from the Bough Studio in Edinburgh. This bowl and the jug by Wilson also shown are typical of the bright, cheerful decorations produced by Strathyre.

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KIRKCUDBRIGHT
Artists had been attracted to the Galloway town of Kirkcudbright before Jessie M King and her husband E A Taylor settled there in 1915. The painter E A Hornel and his sister Elizabeth (Tizzie) returned to the town of their parents and were living in Broughton House from 1901. In addition, Robert Burns was recommending the place as an artists’ retreat. He included the town in his design for a new catalogue cover for the Society of Scottish Artists exhibitions.
Thanks largely to the influence of Burns and the Taylors, Edinburgh college students regularly spent their summers there. Some, such as William (Bill) Miles Johnston and his wife Dorothy Nesbitt settled there after many summer visits. King and Taylor encouraged community activities, including theatricals and pageants, and
established an attractive, bohemian atmosphere in the locality.

E75 Chair
Wood
Made by William Wheeler (c. 1846-1913), Arncroach, Fife c. 1900, decorated by W Miles Johnston (1893-1974) c. 1941
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright
The chair is one of a set of six by Wheeler probably purchased in Edinburgh. Wheeler was a country woodworker and furniture maker much used by Robert Lorimer in the 1890s. Johnston, who by this date had settled with his artist wife Dorothy Nesbitt in Kirkcudbright (in a house they called ‘The Crafts’), painted the chairs for a client. Animals and birds were used as a decorative theme. The chairs are decorated with the following: the mallard, the goldfinch, the bullfinch, the fawn, the pheasant and the harvest mouse. He also decorated wooden ornaments including mobiles (for children’s nurseries) with similar birds and animals.
The Johnstons’ spirited daughters Cecily and Pat inspired Ronald Searle, who was briefly billeted in Kirkcudbright in 1941, to create his characters of the Belles of St Trinian’s.

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E76 Castle Gardens, Kirkcudbright
Ink and watercolour on paper, c. 1905
Jessie M King (1875-1949)
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright

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E77 Police Close, Kirkcudbright
Conte on paper
Ernest Archibald Taylor (1874-1951)
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright

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E78 Group photograph of Greengate Close artists, 1920s
This photograph, possibly taken by E A Taylor, includes the regular summer visitors to Greengate Close, the Taylors’ home and adjoining property
(Left to right) Isobel Hotchkis, Anna Hotchkis, W Miles Johnston, Agnes Harvey, Dorothy Johnstone, Dorothy Nesbitt, Ada King and Jessie M King
Image courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright

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E79 The artist S J Peploe dressed by Jessie M King as the Pied Piper for a Kirkcudbright pageant
Image courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright
The photograph was probably taken in 1918 during King’s pageant in aid of the Red Cross. The artist S J Peploe and his wife Margaret had been part of the same pre-war Parisian circle as J D Fergusson, Margaret Morris, King and Taylor before the First World War. King encouraged Margaret Peploe, who came from South Uist, to play the Queen of the Outer Isles, and the Peploe boys her train bearer and son.

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E80 Proof of a new cover design for the exhibition catalogues of the Society of Scottish Artists
Lithographic print, c. 1901-02
Robert Burns (1869-1941)
Collection Martin A Forrest
Kirkcudbright appears in silhouette in the left background of this stylish image. Burns chaired the committee of the Society of Scottish Artists from 1901. A widely experienced graphic artist, he soon redesigned the exhibition catalogues for the Society.

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E81 Jug
Earthenware, decorated with an underglaze cottage garden design by Jessie M King, with Greengate mark and rabbit motifs, 1920s-30s
Private collection
‘Greengate’, the home of the Taylors, was used to mark on King's painted ceramics.

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THE PAUL JONES TEA ROOM, KIRKCUDBRIGHT
John Paul Jones, the founder of the American navy, had been imprisoned in Kirkcudbright in the 1770s. In 1932 Walter and Agnes Murdoch opened a tea room above their bakery in St Cuthbert Street which was designed by Jessie King as a pirate ship. The first-floor bow window was made into the prow, and the waitresses wore red, white and blue pirate costumes. King also painted the ceramic wares for use in the tea room, with some nautical designs reflecting both the shipping history of the town and Paul Jones.

E82 Supper menu card for the Paul Jones tea room, Kirkcudbright, 17 October 1933
Ink and wash on card
Jessie M King (1875-1949)
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright

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E83 Menu for the Paul Jones tea room, 28 Saint Cuthbert Street, Kirkcudbright, 1930s
Jessie M. King (1875-1949)
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright

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E84 Teapot for the Paul Jones tea room, Kirkcudbright
Earthenware, decorated with an overglaze design of a sailing ship and a mermaid, 1930s
Jessie M King (1875-1949)
Glasgow City Council (Museums)
Hand decorated tea wares were fashionable in the 1920s and 1930s, and not only in city restaurants such as Crawfords in Edinburgh. Ann Macbeth painted blanks as birthday or commemoration gifts for local people. Jessie King did the same. She also provided sets for her local tea room as well as for sale to the public.

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E85 Tea cup and saucer for the Paul Jones tea room, Kirkcudbright
Earthenware, decorated 1930s
Jessie M King (1875-1949)
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright

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E86 Bread or cake plate for the Paul Jones tea room, Kirkcudbright
Earthenware, decorated 1930s
Jessie M King (1875-1949)
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright

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E87 ‘Zoo’ bowl
Earthenware, decorated 1930s
William Miles Johnston (1893-1974)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
Many items in Johnston’s popular ‘zoo’ series may have been decorated in Edinburgh where he spent much of the year until the early 1940s. Students at Edinburgh College of Art were encouraged by artist William Walls to draw and paint the animals at the city’s zoo.
The angular pattern of leaping gazelles was regarded as especially modern and is still one of the best known patterns in the series.

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E88 ‘Zoo’ plate
Earthenware, decorated 1930s
William Miles Johnston (1893-1974)
The City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
Johnston painted a number of bird designs on table ware including the jay, magpie and rook.

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E89 The Edinburgh Tapestry
Wools, with silks, metal thread and beads, c. 1938-39
John R Chart (1911-96) (designer), worked by Louisa M Chart (1880-1963) and Katherine Dow (1913-97)
Helga Chart
This was conceived very much as an exhibition piece. The original design may be seen to the left of Louisa Chart in the studio photograph. A textile map, it brings together the history and buildings of the city in a modern assemblage. John Chart represents himself with a spyglass to hand, observing his city. The Chart studio makers of the embroidery are also represented in a medallion lower centre, with Louisa Chart at top and Katherine Dow centre right.
The range of stitches used is impressive, and includes, petit point, French knots, herringbone stitch, flame stitch, straight stitch and many more.

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E90 Catalogue of the Scottish National Exhibition of Needlework held in the Royal Scottish Academy 1934
Scottish Women's Rural Institute, 1934
Edinburgh City Libraries and Information Services
The Scottish Women's Rural Institute was started in 1917, following Ireland (1910), Wales (1915) and England (1916). Initially it was run by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland, becoming self-supporting (with government funding) from 1922. Catherine Blair, a Midlothian farmer's wife, suffragette and Red Cross worker, was the main driving force. Craft was important to the Scottish ‘rural’, with classes in embroidery, rugmaking and pottery decoration popular form the 1920s. A branch in Macmerry (which gave its name to Mak’merry pottery, part of this craft initiative) near Tranent was taught embroidery by Maud Morley Fletcher, wife of the principal of Edinburgh College of Art and the College’s teacher of embroidery, Louisa Chart.
The exhibition in 1934 was opened by Sir D Y Cameron, now the King‘s Painter and Limner in Scotland. A balance between new work and historic textiles was important. James A Morris lent Ayrshire white work, Lady Lorimer, widow of Sir Robert, a Burgundian tapestry, John Henry Lorimer a bedspread designed by his brother, and architect Reginald Fairlie a seventeenth-century tapestry. Modern artists in embroidery seen her included Helen Gorrie, Louisa Chart, Mabel Dawson, Gladys Wyllie, Dorothy Angus and Kathleen Mann.

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E91 The Thief
Felt appliqué on canvas, by 1934
John R Chart (1911-96) (designer), made by Louisa Mary Chart (1880-1963)
Helga Chart
This modern example of Louisa Chart’s work in the late 1930s shows her willingness to work to designs by others - as she had in Royal School of Needlework embroideries in her early years. John Chart’s modern design is typical of the mid-1930s in its inspiration from European folk design. The embroidery was shown in the Scottish National Exhibition of 1934 and may be seen in the photograph of the Chart studio in 1938.

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E92 Photograph of the Chart studio at 29 George Square, Edinburgh, in 1938
Image courtesy of Helga Chart
The career of Louisa Mary Chart brought together tradition and innovation. Born in Hampton Court the daughter of an architect and surveyor, she worked with the Royal School of Needlework, and in 1914 was appointed to teach embroidery at Edinburgh College of Art. Here she encouraged students to study ancient textiles and traditional stitches but also to explore colour theory , materials and various methods of stitchery. She pursued both the conservation of textiles and new work.
Louisa Chart had a private studio in south Edinburgh where both aspects were carried on. Her nephew John Chart, who met his wife Katherine Dow in the studio, designed a number of tapestries, and both would later be heraldic artists at the Court of the Lord Lyon. In the photograph Louisa is seen standing, and Katherine seated extreme left.

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E93 Poster for the SWRI Handicrafts Exhibition held in the McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, 18 to 26 May 1938
Designed by Jessie M. King
Courtesy of The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright
King supported the work of the ‘rural’ and would give design lectures to groups in the west of Scotland. This is one of several posters willingly designed by her. With its central figure of Bo Peep knitting wool from her sheep it combines illustration, wit and the idea of rural craft.

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