The Magazine

Spring, 1896, Page: 36

Image Dimensions: 30.8 x 23 cms

Page Dimensions: 32 x 25.5 cms


Title: [The Annunciation]

Date: 1896

Inscription: Drawing, pencil and watercolour and on 3 layers of tracing paper 30.8 x 23 cm

Keywords: religious art; christmas; figures; flowers; plants; art nouveau

Material: Pencil and watercolour

Commentary: This is one of several versions of a drawing produced as part of The Christmas Story, a collaborative work by the Macdonald sisters. The Archangel Gabriel presents the promise of the Christ Child to the kneeling Virgin Mary. The lilies at the top of the drawing are traditional symbols of the purity of the Virgin. The peacock eyes in the archangel’s wings are also traditional and can be found in 15th century Italian painting. The motif of the Christ Child within a circle was probably derived from the painting The Days of Creation by Edward Burne–Jones (1833–1898) which was known to Mackintosh and the Macdonald sisters, but its ultimate derivation is from Byzantine art in the icon known as ‘the Virgin of the Sign’. There is another similar version in the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow. The design was also translated into a repoussé metal panel, shown at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1896, reproduced in The Studio, IX (1896), p. 203.