Hunterian acquires Glasgow Style candlestick and Expressionist portrait

  • 6 June 2011

The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow has recently boosted its Mackintosh and Expressionist collections with help from the Art Fund.

The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow has recently boosted its Mackintosh and Expressionist collections with help from the Art Fund and the National Fund for Acquisitions.

The Hunterian has now secured two important additions to its impressive collection: a rare copper and enamel candlestick by Margaret and Frances Macdonald and a portrait by Expressionist painter, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky.

The striking candlestick was designed and made by the Macdonald sisters in the mid 1890s. Covered with repoussé decoration, the oval enamelled cabuchons add a finishing touch. The item is engraved with the signature: ‘MARGARET MACDONALD AND FRANCES MACDONALD’.

This is a significant acquisition for the Hunterian, which is home to the largest single holding of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and to The Mackintosh House. The candlestick cost a total of £100,000. Funding was provided by the Art Fund (£65,000), the National Fund for Acquisitions (£20,000) and the William and Margaret Johnstone Endowment Fund (£15,000).

The portrait, by the Austrian Expressionist Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, is an excellent example of Expressionist painting. It depicts an elderly lady sitting at a table, her arched eyebrows and elongated facial shape mirrored in the indented patterns on her chair. The sitter is Fraülein Engelhardt, a lady who regularly visited Motesiczky’s flat in Vienna as a companion to the artist’s widowed mother.

The portrait will complement The Hunterian’s major holding of German Expressionist prints. Costing a total of £26,047. the Art Fund and McCallum Endowment Fund both gave £10,000 towards the purchase and the National Fund for Acquisitions gave £8,000.

Both items will go on public view in 2012 following a major refurbishment of The Hunterian’s permanent art displays.