From about 1900 Macdonald began to produce larger, independent watercolours alongside her craftwork. Here, a figure is seemingly asleep and may be dreaming, while above her stands a row of eight heads or masks which are perhaps part of her dream. The subject may have been inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck’s play The Blue Bird, which was performed in Glasgow in autumn 1910. Also, stylistically it owes much to the work of Aubrey Beardsley and the Dutch artist Jan Toorop, both of whom had a huge impact on Glasgow artists at the time. In 1912 Macdonald exhibited the work alongside two other watercolours in Edinburgh. They were very well received with a reviewer for The Glasgow Herald considering them “decoratively exotic fantasies born as it were in another sphere”.


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