This is one of the most important paintings from the group known as the Glasgow Boys and Girls, which coalesced in the early 1880s in full rebellion against their artistic elders with their fondness for theatrical Highland landscapes and sentimental ‘story-pictures’. Instead, the Glaswegian radicals depicted the realities of contemporary rural life taking their cue from cutting edge realist French painters, earning their position as the first modern artists in Scotland. Flora Macdonald Reid was one of a handful of young female painters – she was just 23 when she painted this work – to practice at the forefront of contemporary painting, in this case influenced by the French documentary painter, Jules Bastion-Lepage. It was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in London in 1884.
Flora Macdonald Reid
Oil on canvas
99 × 59 cm
121 × 81 × 6.5 cm
Signed bottom right
Flora MacDonald Reid, 1860-1938
Reid was born of Scottish parents in Islington, London, but the family moved back to Edinburgh, where she received her art training. She also studied under her artist brother, John Robertson Reid. She returned to London with him and their sister Lizzie, who was also an artist, and apart from a short period spent in Cornwall they lived there for the rest of their lives. Predominantly a figure painter, Reid travelled extensively on the Continent. She exhibited her work widely, showing for the first time at the Riyal Scottish Academy when she was sixteen and winning a Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.