MacDonald sisters

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For the MacDonald sisters, artist members of The Four, see Glasgow School.
Georgiana Burne-Jones, née MacDonald c.1882, photographed by Frederick Hollyer

The MacDonald sisters were four Scottish sisters, notable for their marriages to well-known people of the Victorian era. Alice, Georgiana, Agnes and Louisa were four of the seven daughters and 11 children of Reverend George Browne MacDonald (1805–1868), a Wesleyan Methodist minister,[1] and Hannah Jones (1809–1875).


There were 11 children in the Macdonald family: seven daughters and four sons. Mary (1834–1836) was the firstborn; followed by Henry (1836–1891), called Harry, who introduced his younger sisters Georgiana and Agnes to his artistic friends, known as the Birmingham Set; then Alice; Caroline (1838–1854); Georgiana; Frederic William (1842–1928); Agnes; Louisa; Walter (1847-1847); Edith (1848–1937), who never married, and lived at home until her mother's death; and Herbert (1850–1851).[2]


Alice (1837–1910) was born on 4 April in Sheffield.[3] She married John Lockwood Kipling, and was the mother of Rudyard Kipling. Lord Dufferin once said, "Dullness and Mrs. Kipling cannot exist in the same room."[4][5][6]


Georgiana's (1840–1920) father was moved by the Methodist Conference to a Birmingham Circuit and it was here that Georgie was born on 28th July 1840.[7] She married the pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones. She became the mother-in-law of John William Mackail and grandmother of Angela Thirkell and Denis Mackail.


Agnes (1843–1906) married the president of the Royal Academy Edward Poynter.


Louisa (1845–1925) married the industrialist Alfred Baldwin and was the mother of prime minister Stanley Baldwin, and grandmother to Oliver and Arthur Baldwin. Louisa wrote novels, short stories, and poetry, sometimes credited as "Mrs. Alfred Baldwin."[8][9][10]

Further reading[edit]

  • Judith Flanders. A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne Jones, Agnes Poynter, and Louisa Baldwin. ISBN 0-393-05210-9
  • Ina Taylor. Victorian Sisters. (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987) (Shortly to be republished by Ellingham Press)


External links[edit]