Jessie M. King

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Jessie M. King
Queen of the Mermaids
ca. 1920s
Pen and black ink over pencil on parchment.
11 7/16 x 9 9/16 inches (28.9 x 24.2 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. Mermaids were a recurring motif in King's work. This drawing belongs to a group of illustrations of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." No corresponding publication is recorded, though King designed elements of volumes of Andersen's fairy tales published in 1903 and 1927.

Sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co., Glasgow, June 21, 1977, no. 163; Justin Schiller, Ltd., New York; Frederick R. Koch, New York.
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