Ellen M. Murray Thomson, Art Nouveau Fuchsia Flower Design - 1910s watercolour

An original 1910s watercolour painting, Ellen M. Murray Thomson Art Nouveau Fuchsia & Chinese Lantern Flower Design.

A beautiful Art Nouveau floral design by Scottish artist Ellen May Murray Thomson (1889-1984). Ellen Murray Thomson produced paintings and decorative designs in the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts styles in the 1910s. This watercolour shows influence of the design work and floral watercolours of Ellen’s contemporary Charles Rennie Mackintosh, in its organic patterning, harmonious palette and flat washes. Even the choice of flowers is evocative of its time – Mackintosh also painted fuchsia flowers. The suggestion of a hexagram in the overall shape recalls Middle Eastern ornament, which also had considerable influence on Art Nouveau designers.

Signed with the artist's maiden name lower right: 'E.M. Frew'. 
Overall in good condition for its age. There is a light crease to the paper running obliquely above-centre, and some light creasing towards the right edge.
35cm x 35cm.

This forms part of a beautiful collection of works we have for sale by Scottish artist Ellen May Murray Thomson (1889-1984). Mostly executed under her maiden name Ellen May Frew, they predominately date from before her marriage to artist John Murray Thomson RSA in 1917 (whose work we also have for sale). Whilst usually defined by her relationship to her better-known husband, Ellen Murray Thomson was in her own right an accomplished painter of animal subjects and floral Art Nouveau designs.

Ellen was daughter of John Rose Frew, a master watchmaker and Provost of Dingwall (1906–1911), and a portrait she did of her father is in the collection of Dingwall Museum. It appears that before Ellen married she was a commercial artist and illustrator, producing designs inspired by architectural ornament, and creating decorative works in the Art Nouveau style – including commissions for ceramics. Thomson lived in Edinburgh (John teaching at the Edinburgh College of Art) and her floral designs were produced in the decade just following that of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s influential work in Glasgow.

Ellen Murray Thomson also collaborated on children’s book projects with her husband, and this collection includes later animal paintings by Ellen produced for book illustrations (as well as some original story manuscripts). These illustrations continue an animal theme, and are charming examples of a British children’s storytelling tradition that combines interest in natural science with evocation of a simpler world pre-industrialisation.

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Product code: JM-002

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