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Jessie M. King

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jessie Marion King
Jessie Marion King.jpg
Jessie Marion King

(1875-03-20)20 March 1875
Died3 August 1949(1949-08-03) (aged 74)
EducationGlasgow School of Art
Known forIllustration, Design
MovementArt Nouveau, Glasgow Style, Symbolism
Spouse(s)E. A. Taylor

Jessie Marion King (20 March 1875 – 3 August 1949) was a Scottish illustrator known for her illustrated children's books.[1] She also designed jewellery and fabric, and painted pottery. King was one of the artists known as the Glasgow Girls.[2]

Early life and education

King was born in Bearsden, near Glasgow. Her father was James Wat(t)ers King, a minister with the Church of Scotland and her mother was Mary Anne Anderson. She received a strict religious education and was discouraged from becoming an artist. When King was very young, she would hide drawings she made in school for fear that her mother would tear them up.[3]

Jessie M. King began training as an Art teacher in 1891 at Queen Margaret College (Glasgow). In 1892 she entered the Glasgow School of Art. As a student, she received a number of awards, including her first silver medal from the National Competition, South Kensington (1898).

Career and work

Illustration by Jessie M. King from the Christmas supplement to The Studio, issued 15 December 1913
Illustration by Jessie M. King from the Christmas supplement to The Studio, issued 15 December 1913

King was made Tutor in Book Decoration and Design at Glasgow School of Art in 1899. She continued to teach until her marriage to E. A. Taylor in 1908, and she chose, against the grain, to keep her maiden name.[2] In Scotland it is legal and not unusual for a woman to retain her maiden name after marriage. In point of fact if a woman's family were more 'influential' than the groom then he sometimes took his bride's family name.

King was influenced by the Art Nouveau of the period,[4] and her works correspond in mood with those of The Glasgow Four. Despite the influence of Art Nouveau, she was inspired to create unique designs where she did not literally translate the real world. "I would not copy designs," she said, "but insisted on drawing out of my head."[2] During her early period, she created detailed pen and ink illustrations on vellum.[3]

Most of King's earliest works involved illustration, she also wrote books and was a skilled jewelry designer.[2] Her first published designs, and some people believe her finest, were for the covers of books published by Globus Verlag, Berlin between 1899 and 1902. The publisher was a subsidiary company of the great Berlin department store, Wertheim's. The publisher, Georg Wertheim, wanted her to design "a range of items in the 'new Scottish Style.'"[2]

She made a Grand Tour of Germany and Italy in 1902 and was influenced by the works of Botticelli. In the same year her binding for "L'Evangile de L'Enfance" was awarded a gold medal in the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art, held in Turin. King became a committee member of the Glasgow Society of Artists (1903) and a member of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists (1905). Her contribution to Art Nouveau peaked during her first exhibitions, Annan's Gallery in Glasgow (1907) and Bruton Street Galleries, London (1905).

In 1908 King and her husband moved to Salford where their only child, daughter Merle Elspeth, was born. In 1910 they moved on to Paris where Taylor had gained a professorship at Ernest Percyval Tudor-Hart's Studios. In 1911 King and Taylor opened the Sheiling Atelier School in Paris. Her works in Paris are considered as influential to the creation of the Art Deco movement. King and Taylor moved to Kirkcudbright in 1915 and continued to work there until her death.



  1. ^ Taylor, John Russell (1 December 2004). "Real Page Turners". Times (United Kingdom). Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Burkhauser, Jude (1993). "Jessie M. King (1875-1949)". Glasgow Girls: Women in Art and Design 1880-1920. Edinburgh: Canongate Press, Plc. pp. 132–139. ISBN 0963698508.
  3. ^ a b Ortakales, Denise (2002). "Jessie M. King". Women Children's Book Illustrators. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  4. ^ Murdoch, W.G. Blaikie (December 1917), "British Illustrators", The American Magazine of Art, 9 (2), p. 54, JSTOR 23935248, And it is [Aubrey Beardsley's] work in this lapidarian manner which has proved influential to Miss Jessie King and to Miss Annie French, whose craftsmanship, in various of her little pictures for old ballads, has a charm making every particle claim microscopic study.


  • The Enchanted World of Jessie M. King by Colin White, Canongate Books, 1989 ISBN 0-86241-363-X
  • Birth Record (1875 King, Jessie Marion [Statutory Births 500/00 0066]) (Scotlands People)
  • Marriage Record (1908 Taylor, Ernest A - King, Jessie Marion [Statutory Marriages 475/00 0028]) (Scotlands People)
  • Death Record (1949 Taylor, Jessie Marion [Statutory Deaths 871/00 0022]) (Scotlands People)
  • Birth Record (index England & Wales, Free BMD Birth Index, 1837-1915 Merle Elspeth Taylor)

External links

This page was last edited on 12 December 2019, at 19:13
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