Decorated initial M

argaret Gilmour was born in Glasgow, the daughter of a local businessman. She attended the School of Art from 1877 to 1880 and is often referred to in hand with her sister Mary, who also attended at Glasgow and following that art school in London. Together with another sister they later established The Gilmour Studio at 179 West George Street, a successful operation which they kept on for about 50 years and which operated only within the city. They won local commissions, produced items for sale and taught a range of crafts including repoussé metalwork, enamelling, leatherwork, embroidery, painting, ceramic painting and wood carving. Margaret’s output appears to be prolific and (and that of her sister) was predominantly in metalware of a high quality, in brass and white metal and sometimes in copper.

Examples of her work appear regularly at auction. Often it is unsigned, although when signed the signature is “MG” could equally refer to Mary Gilmour. In relation to a lack of signature on her work, dealers cite a high volume of output from the studio as the reason and use pattern books and quality as a means of determining provenance.

The Gilmour Studio produced an enormous range of decorative metalware for the home including wall plaques, jardinieres, clock faces, candle sconces, trays, mirrors, lamps, desk and dressing table sets. Glasgow Style motifs were generally used in their designs as were Celtic entrelacs, sometimes with enamel roundels.

Margaret exhibited at the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1901. Very little information or research on her is available. Margaret is often referred to as one of The Glasgow Girls - a term used today to describe the group of women artists and designers who worked in and around Glasgow from the 1880s operating in the Glasgow Style. Most of these adopted a wide range of media and many set up studios in the city.

Related material


Burkhauser, Jude. Glasgow Girls: Women in Art and Design 1880-1920. Rev. Ed. Edinburgh: Canongate Press Ltd, 1993.

The Glasgow Style: 1890-1920. Ed. Alasdair Auld. Glasgow: Glasgow Museums, 27 July - 7 October 1984. Exhibition catalogue.

Glasgow Style: Glasgow Artists and Designers, 1890-1930. Edited by D. Devereux. Dumfries: The Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, 9 July-21 August 2011. Exhibition Catalogue.

Larner, G., & C. Larner. The Glasgow Style. Edinburgh: Paul Harris Publishing, 1979.

Last modified 15 January 2018