Jessie M. King – A Book to Judge by its Cover

Jessie Marion King was born in the Bearsden area of Glasgow in 1875. Whilst her religiously devout parents were against the idea of her attending art school; her natural ability and persistent nature eventually saw her enrol in the prestigious Glasgow School of Art in 1892.



During this period the Art School was a crucible of creative intent, and King was able to rub shoulders with the likes of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the rest of the Glasgow Four. This seminal influence was to have great consequence for her artwork, at that period practicing a range of crafts from bookplates to jewellery, and indeed pottery. Whilst rooted in that zeitgeist of Art Nouveau, King developed her own rigorous practice based within an ethereal world of myth and magic.

Most famously, she has come to be associated with raising the profile of the humble bookbinding to one of sheer art for its own sake. Certainly, it is through this medium that she is most remembered, herself being awarded a gold prize at the pivotal Turin exhibition of Modern Decorative Arts in 1902.


A good collection of books by the artist will feature in our upcoming design auction, and includes many rarities, most notably Kirkcudbright: A Royal Burgh. Well cared for, these works retain much of their original vibrant colours, with more treasures by the artist to be found between the boards. Priced from £20 up to £120, these wonderful works on paper present a real opportunity for collectors, seasoned or indeed aspiring.


James Bruce


For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation, visit our Glasgow Galleries or contact a specialist on 0141 810 2880 or

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