icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Picturing a World

Margaret Macdonald Macintosh

When I wonder about an afterlife for my character Amy Richardson, I usually place her in the Glasgow Girls scene among fellow women artists. The most famous were Margaret Macdonald, who married Charles Rennie Macintosh, and her sister, Frances. I was reminded of one angle of Margaret's life in a recent review article about overlooked artistic wives. Charles Rennie Macintosh was and is certainly better known than Margaret, but he's the one who said "I have talent; she has genius."

It's a feminist truism that women artists have had to give up their careers upon marriage or at best take a second role to their husbands if the men were artists, too. But not always. Nor does it always matter: After all, you don't have to achieve international acclaim to be nourished by your work. What I think would be interesting to explore in historical fiction is how women have made lives for themselves within the constraints of their time and the circumstances of their private lives. Glasgow would be an obvious choice.
Amy Richardson, by the way, has talent, not genius. Wherever she goes (or if she stays in Paris), she'll have to settle for modest success as a painter and teacher, perhaps a satisfactory life partner—and she'll certainly have a ruefully accurate assessment of it all. That's Amy.


Image via Towards Emancipation?

Be the first to comment