Jessie M. King1875 - 1949
Name Variant(s): Jessie Marion King
Jessie M. King is widely known for her pen and ink lines that follow the art nouveau concepts, but she worked extensively as a muralist, book illustator, and designer of fabric, jewelry, costume and book covers.
Jessie Marion King was born in Bearsden, Scotland, a suburb of Glasgow, on March 20, 1875. Her father, the Reverend James King, was a minister and her mother was the daughter of a banker. The King children numbered five, with four girls, of whom Jessie was the youngest. Their formative years were spent largely in the care of Mary McNab, a housekeeper and governess, whom King came to regard as a second mother.
As part of her formal education, King studied at the Glascow School of Art, which became the center of the uniquely Scottish form of the "Art Noveau" movement that Europe recognized as the "Glascow style." Despite concerns that she was an unsuccessful student, her originality secured her a scholarship to study in France and Italy. In 1898, she won the silver medal in the South Kensington annual competition for her "Light of Asia" drawings. After completing her course in 1899, King taught on a part-time basis at the School and initiated her success as a book illustrator through a series of commissions for German publishers.
In 1902, the first international exhibition of decorative art was held in Turin and King, who earned first prize, established herself as the preeminent book illustrator in the Glascow movement. Her popularity brought additional commissions for cover designs, illustrations, and exhibitions, as well as work in jewelry and fabric design. Among the earlier commissions was her work for Sebastian Evan's translation of the "High History of...
Dumfries & Galloway Museums Service. The Greengate Gallery. "Jessie M. King" located at http://www.greengate-gallery.org.uk/jmk.html, 3/29/01.
Houfe, Simon. The Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club, 1996.
MacSporran, Archie. "Jessie M. King" located at http://www.archiemacsporran.com/Jessi.htm, 3/29/01.
Peppin, Brigid and Lucy Micklethwait.Book Illustrators of the Twentieth Century. New York: Arco Publishing, Inc., 1984.