Item NMC/0024 - Portrait of Marion Osborne Blythe (nee Dempster)

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Portrait of Marion Osborne Blythe (nee Dempster)


  • 1920 (Creation)

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This item was lost in the fire in The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art on 23rd May 2014. Portrait of a lady.

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Allan Douglass Mainds was born in Helensburgh in 1881 to Catherine Thomson Gilfillan and William Reid Mainds, a landscape painter in oil.
After studying drawing and painting at the Glasgow School of Art (1896-1902), Allan won the Haldane Travelling Scholarship, enabling him to study in Holland and Brussels under Jean Delville, before proceeding to Paris, Rome and Venice. His subsequent style was said to be strongly influenced by French artists, stemming from his time in that country.
From 1909 until 1931 he was a member of staff at the School, instructing in ornament, life drawing and painting, and from 1910 to 1918, lecturing in history of costume and armour.
During the First World War Mainds served with the Royal Field Artillery in Flanders, where he was commissioned to the rank of captain. There his work included sketching landscapes for the gunners and, late in the war, acting as an instructor in a convalescent hospital. His 1916 field sketchbook includes carefully observed figures and desolate landscapes. The black and white detail of the trench systems are in stark contrast to several drawings and paintings of Rouen, which were worked on during periods of ‘R&R’ away from the front.

He was married, in uniform, in 1916 to Mary Hogg, who had been a full time student at the School of Art winning several prizes for embroidery and silversmithing. In 1929 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy and in 1931 he became Professor of Fine Art and Director of the King Edward VII School of Art, Kings College, University of Durham.

He died at home in July 1945, after the end of the war in Europe but before peace in the Far East. His son, a Captain in the Parachute Regiment, and his son in law, a Flight-Lieutenant in the RAF who was a Lancaster pilot, both survived the war and attended his funeral. Allan D Mainds appears on Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour. If you have any more information, please get in touch.

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Given by artist to Marion Blythe; bequesthed by her to her niece, Mrs.White (of Uddingston) by whom presented to the GSA, March 1984.

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Oil on canvas, framed

Dimensions: 920 x 710 mm

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