The Magazine

Spring, 1896, Page: 37

Image Dimensions: 30.5 x 25 cms

Page Dimensions: 32 x 25.5 cms


Title: [And lo the star…]

Date: 1896

Inscription: Drawing, pencil and watercolour on 3 layers of tracing paper, 30.5 x 25 cm, sewn onto page, inscribed at left “And lo – / the star / which the – / sheperds saw / in the east / went with / them – / till it came / and stood – / over where / the young – / Child was.” signed bottom left “FRANCES – / MACDONALD.– ”

Keywords: religious art; christmas; figures; flowers; plants; symbolism; 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. Here Frances Macdonald illustrates her text by depicting the Virgin Mary in prayer, holding the Christ Child. Above her are white lilies, traditional symbols of her purity, an angel, who possibly also represents the night sky, and holds the Star of Bethlehem, and a dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Unlike in her sister’s representation of the Annunciation, the Virgin now has a nimbus around her head. 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.