Doves and Dreams at The Walker


If you have not seen the Doves and Dreams exhibition at the Walker yet then you had better go now because it finishes on Sunday April 22 2007. You really do have to see it. It is of artistic and historical importance and is a key element of this year’s 800th anniversary celebrations. Some rather good paintings too of course.

Doves and Dreams: the Art of Frances Macdonald and J Herbert McNair is the first exhibition to be devoted to their artistic partnership.

Alongside Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Frances’s sister Margaret Macdonald, the couple formed the legendary Glasgow Four at the turn of the 20th century.

This major retrospective is a stunning display of around 100 works from public and private collections from the UK and USA, including watercolours, graphics, furniture, metalwork, textiles and decorative arts. The exhibition also includes the first exploration of the married couple’s 10 years in Liverpool.

Highlights include:

· a reconstruction of A Lady’s Writing Room, 1902 (see picture above). This ambitious installation combined the best of the couple’s furniture, graphic, glass and textile design and watercolours. The sensitive reconstruction using both original artefacts and recreated objects demonstrates the couple’s impressive range skills.

· a rare copy of The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems by William Morris, illustrated by the Macdonald sisters.

· examples of McNair’s elegant furniture to accompany photographs of the interior of their Liverpool home. The images reveal highly stylised rooms, without doubt the most avant-garde domestic interiors of that date in Liverpool.

· seven haunting watercolours produced by Frances Macdonald which convey complex and personal subject matters, unprecedented in her earlier work. They have few parallels in British painting of the early twentieth century.