Jessie M. King

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Jessie M. King
King Robert Crossed Both His Hands Upon His Breast
ca. 1920
Pen and black ink over pencil on parchment.
sheet: 11 11/16 x 9 7/8 inches (29.6 x 25 cm); image: 10 13/16 x 6 15/16 inches (27.5 x 17.6 cm)
Gift of Mr. Frederick R. Koch.

King was a successful artist and designer associated with the Glasgow Style (ca. 1895-1920), an Art Nouveau variant that developed in Scotland and spread across Europe. Unusual for the time, women studied side-by-side with men at the Glasgow School of Art, an incubator of the Glasgow Style. A group of these women, King included, is referred to as the Glasgow Girls. Over the course of her long career, King created jewelry, ceramics, interiors, textiles, book designs, illustrations, and "fantasy" drawings in pen, ink, and watercolor. She stressed the role of her "inner eye" in developing her subject matter. This drawing illustrates a scene from the poem "The Sicilian's Tale: King Robert of Sicily," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem appeared initially in Longfellow's "Tales of a Wayside Inn" (1863), a collection of poems derived primarily from European legends. King created the cover and endpapers for the volume "Songs from Longfellow," published in London around 1920, though this image does not appear in the book.


Inscribed by the artist at lower edge of design area, in pen and black ink, "KING ROBERT CROSSED BOTH HIS HANDS UPON HIS BREAST".

Sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co., Glasgow, June 21, 1977, no. 220; Justin Schiller, Ltd., New York; Frederick R. Koch, New York.
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