Papers of Jessie Marion King, 1875-1949, designer and illustrator and Ernest Archibald Taylor, 1874-1951, designer and artist

Scope and Content

Correspondence, presscuttings, exhibition catalogues, printed books 1815-1975

Administrative / Biographical History

Jessie Marion King was born in Bearsden, Glasgow in 1875 , the daughter of Mary Ann Anderson and Reverend James W King of New Kilpatrick Parish, Glasgow. She studied at  Glasgow School of Art from  1892-1899 . She won a travelling scholarship from the School and which enabled her to travel to France and Italy. It was in Italy that she was influenced by the paintings of Botticelli. Her long and varied professional career began when, in  1899 , a Berlin department store owner commissioned her to design a range of items, requesting that they be done in the new Scottish style. Book design and illustration dominated her early work, but her talents extended over many areas: posters, bookplates, book covers, jewelry, ceramics, wallpaper, fabrics, murals, interior design, and costumes. In  1902 , her efforts as a book designer were recognized with a gold medal in the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Turin for the book L'Evangile de l'Enfance. Starting that same year, King taught Book Decoration at Glasgow school of Art, influencing others with her sense of design. In  1908  she married fellow artist and Glasgow School of Art alumni  Ernest Archibald Taylor, who worked in as many different media as she. It is interesting to note that, despite common convention, King retained her maiden name after her marriage, no doubt because of the success she had already attained.

Two year later, In  1910 , King and Taylor moved to Paris where they lived until the outbreak of World War I. Taylor was a professor at the Studio School of Drawing and Painting, and, together with King, they ran a studio gallery called the Shealing Atelier of Oil and Watercolour Painting, Design and the Applied Arts. They spent their summers on the Isle of Arran, where they ran a summer sketching school. Returning to Scotland in  1920 , they settled in the artist community of Kirkcudbright, where King established Green Gate Close, an important centre for women artists. King was the creative force in the close and maintained a studio there where she worked on ceramics. Sometimes, she and Taylor would collaborate on furniture or interior design. King experimented with batik, a wax-resist technique that she learned while in Paris, applying it to fabric and clothing. She was instrumental in introducing the technique to Scotland by giving classes at Green Gate. Many of her scarf designs were bought by the London department store, Liberty's. She died on 3 August  1949  in Kirkcudbright.


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Purchased from Sotheby's Sale, 20 June 1986, lot 642, via Quaritch, with support from Local Museums Purchase Fund

Other Finding Aids

Details of descriptions are available via the department's online manuscripts catalogue accessible from the University of Glasgow Library, Department of Special Collections, searching by the call number MS Gen 1654.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Special Collections.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Copyright holders: Stewartry Museum (Kirkcudbright) and Hornel Trust. Accompanying printed books shelved at RB 3380-3387, 3433 and RQ 1380 - see printed books catalogue for details

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures

Custodial History



None expected

Related Material

No related material

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Fonds level description compiled by Andrew Thomson, Hub Project Archivist, 18 March 2005

Corporate Names

Geographical Names