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Art HERstory: Jessie Marion King



(If you missed the first Art HERstory post, check it out HERE.)

Jessie M. King was an individualist. She had a gift for decorative linear expression. Her free spirit can be seen in the line work of her intricate illustrations and much like the the creative forces of Fafi, Claw Money & TooFly, she had her hand in more than just art.

Although, she is known for her Art Nouveau style drawings, Ms. King also designed jewelry, greeting cards, fabric, ceramics and batik textiles, and murals.




Born in New Kilpatrick, Scotland, Jessie Marion King was a watercolorist, author and illustrator of books; a designer of costumes, jewelry, fabrics, batik. She married the artist E. A. Taylor and worked and lived in Scotland and Paris. She exhibited her work actively from 1897-1940 at the Royal Scottish Academy, the Institute of Fine Art and the Bruton Galleries. She also studied under Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the leader of the “Glasgow Style? movement.


“Bare Limbed and Pipe in Hand” from The Young King.
I like how simple and delicate the above piece is in contrast to the one below. I thought I’d show them along side each other to show King’s ability to shift styles.

“Her Feet were Naked” from The Fisherman and His Soul.


King’s work looks like it was influenced by the Art Nouveau artist, Aubrey Beardsley. But it’s really the “Glasgow Style? or “Glasgow School? (not to be confused with the Glasgow School of Art), that shaped her style. The “Glasgow Style? is the consummation of the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau with a Scottish bias. It encompassed all areas of life through both the fine arts and the applied arts. King added her own romantic ideas to her technique to create her own personal statement to her medieval fantasy illustrations.


At the top is a cloak clasp (they use to get down with cloaks on the daily during the turn of the century, so they were so necessary!) by King circa 1906. The hairbrush below it is a part of a dressing-table set (I thought this piece was the prettiest). In this piece, also circa 1906, King brought her designs in with silver and colored enamle.

While living in Paris, King was influenced by The Ballet Russes and their costume creator Leon Bakst. His designs for the ballet were exotic with dazzling color and changed the course of modern theatre design. King’s was so inspired by Bakst that her work reflected his influence. It moved from thin delicate line work to broader lines with brightly colored washes and slowly these pieces grew into fashion design.


A model (striking a sassy pose…which was probably also very provocative for that time) wearing a blue silk batik dress designed by King circa 1938.

Ok, that’s all I have for now. I’ll be bringing more Art HERstory goodness next Tuesday. Hope you enjoyed Ms. King. For more on her visit www.ortakales.com or Art Passions.

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2 Responses to “Art HERstory: Jessie Marion King”

  1. Syble Minear says:

    A buddy encoraged me to check out this website, great post, fascinating read… keep up the nice work!

  2. ladylexx ladylexx says:

    Glad you enjoyed the read, Syble! Thanks for stopping by!
    PS. Sounds like your buddy’s a keeper :)

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