Jessie M. King

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For other people named Jessie King, see Jessie King (disambiguation).
Illustration by Jessie M. King from the Christmas supplement to The Studio, issued December 15, 1913

Jessie Marion King (March 20, 1875 – August 3, 1949) was a Scottish illustrator mostly of children's books. She also designed jewellery and fabric, and painted pottery. She was married to E. A. Taylor, artist and furniture designer.

She was born in Bearsden, near Glasgow. Her father was James Wat(t)ers King, a minister with the Church of Scotland and her mother was Mary Anne Anderson. She received a strict religious education and was discouraged from becoming an artist. Jessie M. King began training as an Art teacher in 1891 at Queen Margaret College (Glasgow). In 1892 she entered the Glasgow School of Art. As a student, she received a number of awards, including her first silver medal from the National Competition, South Kensington (1898).

King was made Tutor in Book Decoration and Design at Glasgow School of Art in 1899. Her first published designs, and some people believe her finest, were for the covers of books published by Globus Verlag, Berlin between 1899 and 1902. The publisher was a subsidiary company of the great Berlin department store, Wertheim's. She was influenced by the Art Nouveau of the period and her works correspond in mood with those of The Glasgow Four.

She made a Grand Tour of Germany and Italy in 1902 and was influenced by the works of Botticelli. In the same year her binding for "L'Evangile de L'Enfance" was awarded a gold medal in the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art, held in Turin. King became a committee member of the Glasgow Society of Artists (1903) and a member of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists (1905).

Her contribution to Art Nouveau peaked during her first exhibitions, Annan's Gallery in Glasgow (1907) and Bruton Street Galleries, London (1905). She married artist Ernest Archibald Taylor in 1908 and moved with him to Salford where their only child, daughter Merle Elspeth, was born. In 1910 they moved on to Paris where Taylor had gained a professorship at Ernest Percyval Tudor-Hart's Studios. In 1911 King and Taylor opened the Sheiling Atelier School in Paris. Her works in Paris are considered as influential to the creation of the Art Deco movement. King and Taylor moved to Kirkcudbright in 1915 and continued to work there until her death.

Jessie Marion King and Ernest Archibald Taylors’ House in High Street, Kirkcudbright[edit]


  • The Enchanted World of Jessie M. King by Colin White, Canongate Books, 1989 ISBN 0-86241-363-X
  • Birth Record (1875 King, Jessie Marion [Statutory Births 500/00 0066]) (Scotlands People)
  • Marriage Record (1908 Taylor, Ernest A - King, Jessie Marion [Statutory Marriages 475/00 0028]) (Scotlands People)
  • Death Record (1949 Taylor, Jessie Marion [Statutory Deaths 871/00 0022]) (Scotlands People)
  • Birth Record (index England & Wales, Free BMD Birth Index, 1837-1915 Merle Elspeth Taylor)

External links[edit]