October 22, 2018

Why is her name forgotten while his is remembered?

Kirsten MacQuarrie


This piece was inspired by the knowledge that 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s birth, but also by my belief that another, less well-known artist deserves far greater recognition. Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh was a talented, highly trained artist and designer in her own right, but her role has frequently been reduced to being only a footnote in art history focused on her husband. Mackintosh himself was passionate about Macdonald’s art: the quote I use within my story – ‘I have only talent, Margaret has genius’ – is a real one, and from my research it seems that dynamic, collaborative working was an integral part of both their creative practices.

In my piece, I wanted to imagine the sound of a voice that traditional art history has failed to hear: to reflect on what Margaret Macdonald thought and experienced as a woman once at the heart of the avant-garde. It may be too late to hear her story in her own words, as it is for so many woman artists under-valued in history. But with creativity and a willingness to challenge old narratives, I believe we can and should bring their art back into the present.


For more of Kirsten’s work, visit: www.glasgowgallerina.com.