Jessie Marion King
(1875 – 1949)

Jessie Marion King, the daughter of a Minister, was born near Glasgow. She began attending the Glasgow School of Art as a full-time student in 1892, graduating with first class honours in 1902. At the Art School she also taught bookbinding design from 1900 and ceramic decoration over 1906/7. From the beginning her talent for drawing and distinctive style were apparent, with her early work adopting a fairy-tale feel and use of dotted lines, often in black and white. A versatile artist, she designed costumes, gesso panels, wallpaper, fabrics, interiors as well as enamel jewellery for Liberty & Company. Early on she began what would be a long career in book illustration, associated with over 80 titles, some of which she wrote herself. She was married to the Glasgow Style designer E.A. Taylor. They lived in Paris for a while opening an Art School but at the outset of the war moved returned to Scotland, settling in Kirkudbright with her family where she dedicated much time to decorating pottery blanks for sale to tourists. King was recognised internationally, winning a number of awards and published regularly in The Studio. She appears to have enjoyed a long and successful career, perhaps due not only to her talent but also to her ability to adjust to the mood of the times. Her work comes up at auction on a fairly regular basis, in particular the painted pottery and books. Glasgow Museums holds over 200 items associated with her, of which 22 are on public display. 


Detail, Square Honey Jar
Ken McArthur for McTear's
Bookplate, lithograph with metallic ink on paper, signed 11.5cm x 10.5cm. Between 1902 and 1910, King designed around 30 bookplates. The majority of these contain the phrase 'ex libris', meaning 'from the library of'. This label in particular was designed for Fred J M Christie, who is thought to have been a Glasgow textile merchant. Ken McArthur for McTear’s
Liberty Silver Buckle
Silver and enamel belt buckle for Liberty & Co, London, dated 1906. Of oval outline, formed of two sections, each pierced with a design of flying swallows and enamelled flowers, hallmarked Birmingham 1906. Image courtesy of Lyon & Turnbull, Fine Art Auctioneers.
Four Corners to My Bed
Pen and ink, pencil and watercolour, highlighted with gilt, inscribed Four Corners to My Bed Four Angels Round my Head, signed lower right, Jessie M King. Image courtesy of Lyon & Turnbull, Fine Art Auctioneers.
Pottery Cup & Saucer
Hand painted with blue and yellow flowers on a white ground, each signed JMK in black with a green gate and brown rabbit motif. Image courtesy of Great Western Auctions.
Reverse of Cup and Saucer
Signed JMK, with green gate and brown rabbit motif. Image courtesy of Great Western Auctions.
Pottery Mug
Hand painted pottery mug, signed. Image courtesy of Great Western Auctions
Mug Detail
Image courtesy of Great Western Auctions.
Reverse of Mug
Showing JMK signature and Green Gate symbol. Image courtesy of Great Western Auctions.
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