Annie French

The Annie French Collection

A collection of business papers of the Glasgow artist Annie French.

About Annie French

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Miss Annie French (Scots Pictorial 23 August 1919)

Annie French (1872-1965) was a painter, etcher and illustrator, active in the first quarter of the 20th century. She is best known for her many watercolour and pen drawing illustrations for postcards, greetings cards and children’s books.

Born in Glasgow, she studied at the Glasgow School of Art under Fra Newbery and the Belgian Symbolist, Jean Delville (1896-1902). While still a student, she contributed an illustration to The Book of the Jubilee of the University of Glasgow (1901). In 1909 she succeeded Jessie M. King as Tutor in Ceramic Decoration at the Applied Art Studios of Glasgow School.

She first exhibited at the Salon in Brussels in 1903, and in later years at the Royal Scottish Academy and Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art. Her Art Nouveau illustrative style has been linked to that of Jessie M. King, Margaret McDonald McIntosh and Aubrey Beardsley and is characterised by a languid, dream-like quality and confetti-like textures.

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Illustration for 'The Ballad of the Banish't Man' by Annie French. Illustration displayed at 1902 exhibition of the Glasgow School of Art, and published in The Studio.

They clearly demonstrate her superb draughtsmanship and remarkably detailed linear technique. Following her marriage to etcher and stained-glass artist George Wooliscroft Rhead in 1914, she moved to London and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy. She retired to Jersey where she lived until her death at the age of 92.

Annie French's drawings are in the collections of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle and Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery at Kelvingrove, which also holds a small album of her drawings.

About the collection

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A selection of business papers from the collection

The collection is primarily comprised of art business papers, including sales books and correspondence. The material covers drawings, paintings etc sold and exhibited from 1914 to 1943 and business correspondence from 1904 to 1929. It includes a letter from Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, sent in 1907.

Finding aid

Please contact Special Collections or 0141 287 2988 if you would like to access this collection.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, article on Glasgow Girls.

National Galleries of Scotland, article on Annie French.

Article on Annie French in Wikipedia

Burkhauser, Jude (ed.). (2005, rev. ed.). Glasgow Girls : women in art and design 1880-1920. Edinburgh: Canongate.

Image gallery

View images from the Mitchell Library's collection.

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