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John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)
John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)

Portrait of Margaret Morris

Details
John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)
Portrait of Margaret Morris
pencil, brush and black ink and black crayon
12.3/8 x 9 in. (31.4 x 23.5 cm.)
Executed in 1923
Provenance
Margaret Morris and thence by descent to the present owner.

Lot Essay

Born in 1891 of Welsh/Irish parents, Margaret Morris was only a few weeks old when the family moved to France. A child prodigy, she appeared at Society concerts and in Court drawing rooms where she was spotted by Sarah Bernhardt who offered to train her in Paris. Morris resented the formality of classical ballet training and from the age of twelve began to develop her own system of exercises. Her technique was based on the Greek Positions, copied from ancient artifacts, which Raymond Duncan, brother of Isadora, maintained was the basis of athletic training. This system was published in 1928 as Notation of Movement and her technique led to her involvement in dance and movement as therapy. It was subsequently adopted in the Massage School at St. Thomas hospital and in 1930 Morris qualified as a physiotherapist.
In 1910 she started her own Margaret Morris Movement School, which quickly expanded with bases in London, Paris, Edinburgh, Glasgow , Manchester and Aberdeen. It was during a company visit to Paris that she met the artist J.D. Fergusson.
In 1939, on account of the outbreak of war, they returned to Glasgow and although most of her schools were forced to close Morris and Fergusson established the New Art Club and The Celtic Ballet. After the death of J.D. Fergusson in 1961, Morris moved back to London and set about revitalising the Margaret Morris Movement, which by 1984 had over half million attendances at classes and strong international groups. She died in Glasgow in 1980 aged 89. Not only was she a dancer, but also a painter and writer, publishing several works, including her autobiography My Life in Movement, London, 1969.

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