Liverpool artwork of the day – Wednesday April 4 2007. ‘The Legend of the Blackthorns’ by Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh in ‘Doves and Dreams’ at The Walker until April 22 2007
One of my favourites from the marvelous Doves and Dreams exhibition – The art of Frances MacDonald and J Herbert McNair. Its only on loan to the Walker though, its usual home is Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow
The McNairs’ story is presented in three chronological sections: the experimental student and studio years of the 1890s in Glasgow; domesticity, success and tragedy in Liverpool in the early 1900s; and the disappointments and creativity of the final years in Glasgow.
It has been convincingly argued that this is a tribute painting by Margaret Macdonald to her late sister. Blackthorn or Sloe is a winter-flowering plant commonly associated with mourning. The two bowed pale figures can be seen as depictions of herself and Frances.