stories and illustration

A Pastel and a Photograph Propped up on a Windowsill


This is a pastel of my grandmother done when she was young, by her aunt. My grandmother Eva Macpherson came from Newfoundland to Europe, and her aunt was Margaret Campbell Macpherson, “Aunt Madge”, who also came from St Johns, and lived in France from 1899 till she died in Verseilles in 1931. Her companion, Josephine Hoxie Bartlett, had to abandon the studio when the Germans invaded France,  so there are probably painting and pastels that have disappered. I have carted this pastel of my grandmother through many vicissitudes. It has inhabited a house in Liddesdale, rackety student flats in Sunderland, a house in Berwick upon Tweed. The photograph  in the decorative frame, which I have also had with me for many years, is of myself as a baby, with my grandmother.  The reflections come  from the sun of the solstice shining through the glass.

June 22, 2013 - Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


  1. Hi :
    I have been researching the Art History of Newfoundland for some 25 years and presently working on Margaret’s history.
    I have collected a good bit of info on Margaret from many sources. I am preparing a book and any info, written or photo, on Margaret you care to share would be appreciated.
    Larry Mahoney
    St. John’s, NL


    Comment by Larry Mahoney | March 6, 2015 | Reply

    • Hi Larry
      Margaret Campbell Macpherson was always known as Great Aunt Madge, many of her pictures were spread round the family – she wasn’t well known at the time, though my father, who wasn’t a blood relation, had a very high opinion of her work. The pastel in the picture is of my grandmother, Eva Macpherson, when she was a young girl, and I have had it with me most of my life – I was very close to my grandmother. No doubt you have all the information from the recent exhibition that was touring at different venues through Canada and had a wonderful catalogue. I’ll ask around and see if my brother or my cousin, who lives nearby, have any information on Aunt Madge. Good luck with your research, I’d be fascinated to get hold of a copy of any pubication you may produce. Newfoundland was like a fabled land to me when I was a child. Best wishes, Cara


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | March 6, 2015 | Reply

      • Dear Cara Lockhart Smith,
        I am a curator at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. I am researching Margaret Campbell MacPherson and would love to discuss her with you.
        Yours sincerely,
        Alice Strang


        Comment by Alice Strang | June 12, 2015

      • Dear Alice Strang

        How interesting to hear from you. “Great Aunt Madge”, as Margaret Campbell Macpherson was known in our family, seemed to be a forgotten artist until recently. My father was always an admirer of her work, and my grandmother gave our family the pastel on my website many years ago, which is a portrait of my grandmother when a young girl in Paris. I know that for some time Great Aunt Madge, and Jo Bartlett, her partner, did live in Edinburgh, but then moved to Paris. Her studio was abandoned after her death, due to the invasion of France, so mahy paintings will have been lost. There are other paintings within the family, most of which were shown in the exhibition “2 Artists Time Forgot”. I am sure you are in touch with Mora Dianne O’Neill and Caroline Stone who curated that exhibition and were responsible for the catalogue, and they are the people who know more than anyone else about the painter. We met them when they were over here researching ten years ago, and my brother was in touch with Dianne O’Neill as recently as last year. I cannot give you anything like the information they will have assembled. However, it is very touching to realise that a painter whom I have always thought wonderful though neglected is being given the recognition that she now seems to be receiving.

        I can give you Dianne O’Neill’s email address if you do not have it (though I expect you do) if you contact me on

        Withe best wishes,

        Cara (Lockhart Smith)


        Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | June 12, 2015

    • Dear Mr Mahoney – I am a curator at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and would like to find out more about Margaret Campbell MacPherson. Might you be willing to aid my research?
      Alice Strang


      Comment by Alice Strang | June 12, 2015 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: