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King, Jessie M.

King, Jessie M.

Jessie M. King

1875 - 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


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Additional Information:


Dumfries & Galloway Museums Service. The Greengate Gallery. "Jessie M. King" located at, 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, 3/29/01.

Peppin, Brigid and Lucy Micklethwait.Book Illustrators of the Twentieth Century. New York: Arco Publishing, Inc., 1984.

And a Damsel Kept Watch over a Dead KnightBack coverCinderella danced for joy in her saffron-tinted frock.Cinderella Goes To The Bees For beeswax and to the Garden for Onions..A Clerk Brought a Golden Vessel to the FountainContents of How Cinderella Was Able To Go to The Ball.A Damsel Mounteth the StepsA Damsel of Passing Great Beauty Held his Head in her LapThe Damsels of the CarDindrane Prayeth SuccourDress in Batik.Endpiece: Cinderella working Batik.Four Clad in White GarmentsFrontispiece: Cinderella could not help crying.The Graal Appeareth to Messire Gawain at the FeastGuenevere Gone A Maying.He Espied at the Door a SquireThe High History of the Holy GraalHow Cinderella Was Able To Go to The Ball.How Four Queens Found Sir Lancelot in the WoodJavanese Earthenware Dish with Heater-for Charcoal.The Joy of Perceval's SisterThe Knight of the Burning DragonA Knight Riding a Great Pace toward the ForestThe Knights Come Through the Forest with Such a RushingLampshade Title: The Chase.Launcelot Went his WayLauncelot's Vigil by the QueenThe Lord of the Castle Findeth his Daughter WeepingMeliot Findeth the Weeping DamselMessire Gawain Departeth from the CastlePair of curtains, title: Little Sister and Faire Brother.Perceval Departeth from the Hermitage and Carrieth the BannerPerceval Goeth Toward the Deep ForestPerceval Seeth the Questing BeastPerceval Winneth the Golden CupProgressive examples of Batik.Requirements for Success in BatikShe Filched Away the SwordSilk Opera Cloak in Batik.Sleeveless tunic with hanging side sash - yellow represents wax; dyed green, blue painted in.Tjanzings.Tunic - green painted in orange and red dyes.Tunic - orange and cerise - painted in dyed green blue and dark blue.

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