Frances Macdonald MacNair

Frances Macdonald MacNair

Design for a Decorative Frieze of stylized Human Figures within Trees, circa 1895
possibly for Dunglass Castle
pencil, watercolour, bodycolour, on brown paper
760 x 2385mm.
Mrs Dunderdale, Dunglass Castle
Toronto, 1978, p.30, illus.
Toronto, 1978, no.101; Washington, 1985, no.32

Lot Essay

This design relates to the mirror designed by Frances Macdonald circa 1896-97, The Honesty Mirror (Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries). The same honesty motifs and stylised female figures appear on this drawing, which was probably intended as a frieze decoration. A further portion of the drawing is in the collection of the Hunterian Art Gallery, donated by Mrs L A Dunderdale, who was Frances Macdonald's niece and the last occupant of Dunglass Castle, the Macdonald family home at Bowling, Dunbartonshire. It is possible that these two drawings were used as a frieze at Dunglass but their condition suggests that they were never permanently attached to any wall and they might, therefore, have been produced only for exhibition purposes and not for a specific location. This is perhaps the largest surviving drawing by any of The Four.

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