William Stewart MacGeorge was born in Castle Douglas, and trained at the Royal Institution Art School in Edinburgh. He also spent two years at the Antwerp Academy. He exhibited almost yearly at the Royal Scottish Academy from 1881 onwards, and showed three pictures at the Royal Academy.
An article in the Studio (LXV1) discussed the affinity between MacGeorge and the Galloway landscape. He frequently adopted subjects from local legend; The Douglas Tragedy, for example, shows a distraught maiden cradling a sleeping, or perhaps injured, knight in her arms. The mid-century Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic is mitigated, however, by the artist's free brushwork and the vibrancy of his colours. These are less finely applied than Pre-Raphaelite pigment, but are manipulated in a way that evokes bracken-covered ground and the hillside beyond - moorland which is rendered a rich yellow by the morning sunlight. MacGeorge assimilates the lessons of French Impressionism and the Glasgow school, and this style enables him to respond to landscape with rapidity and verve.
The subjects we now associate with MacGeorge are his portraits of children playing in the open air. Children amongst spring blossom is a fine example of this genre, which also includes Nutting and See-saw. Two young girls, perhaps sisters, sit beneath a white hawthorn bush; the elder waves two twigs of hawthorn blossom playfully over her companion. Although the girl's face is shaded by a sunhat, MacGeorge has perfectly captured her expression, which is animate yet absorbed. The younger child is exposed to the full glare of the sun, and is stretched in abandon on the grassy bank. Together they embody the freedom children enjoy in summer.