Watt, Elizabeth Mary

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Watt, Elizabeth Mary

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  • Watt, Mary Elizabeth

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Elizabeth Mary Watt was born on 14th February 1885 in Dundee, Scotland. Her parents were Elizabeth and Alexander L. Watt, a butcher. She had three brothers and one sister. Watt was educated at Morgan Academy and worked as a milliner in Dundee at the beginning of the 20th century, but had moved to Glasgow with her family by the middle of the decade after her father left for America. Elizabeth Mary Watt worked in Glasgow for woven fabric maker Joseph M. Sadler. He had his office at 205 Hope Street and became a drawing instructor from 1906 to 1908 in the Textile Class for commercial men, an evening course given conjointly by The Glasgow School of Art and The Glasgow Technical College.

In 1905 Watt enrolled as an evening student at The Glasgow School of Art, while working as a colourist. Watt continued studying at The Glasgow School of Art until 1917, with the exception of the session 1911/12. She studied Drawing and Painting, with instructors David F. Wilson and David N. Rollo, and Life Painting, with instructors Paul Artot, James Gray and Maurice Greiffenhagen. During her time at the school she stayed first at Firpark Terrace (Dennistoun), an address shared with her brothers Alfred, Harold and Alexander Watt, and then at Aberfoyle Street (Dennistoun). During session 1909/10, Elizabeth Mary Watt was awarded the Diploma in Drawing and Painting of The Glasgow School of Art, and also the Haldane Travelling Bursary for £40. With the bursary she visited Paris, Venice, Florence, Genoa, Milan and Rome. The same session year she was appointed as Honorary Secretary for The Glasgow School of Art Club. Watt also qualified as an art teacher during this period and from 1909 until 1911 at least, she worked at the Girls’ High School (Glasgow).

After leaving The Glasgow School of Art, Watt became a freelance artist and designer and is known today as one of the ‘Glasgow girls’. She painted landscapes, flowers and children, often in fantasy settings. She became well known as a pottery painter, and was described as a “china painter” by Nan Muirhead Moffat in her series of articles “Round the studios” about women artists at work that was published by The Herald (Glasgow) in 1939.

In 1919 Elizabeth Mary Watt became an artist member of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists, and she exhibited there almost annually with Kate Wylie. In 1947 she won the Lauder Award, an award given by artist members to the best work of art exhibited each year, for her artwork at the Crafts Exhibition. She also exhibited several times at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, from 1922 until the year of her death, and at the Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh) in 1925 and 1930. The Scottish west coast was a favourite subject. For a time shared a studio with Hesse, sister of Benno Schotz, in whose autobiography "Bronze in my Blood" Watt makes a brief appearance. Watt died in Glasgow in 1954.


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Buckman, David, Artists in Britain Since 1945; Ancestry website (www.ancestry.co.uk) </p> <p> Arthur, Liz (2010). Glasgow Girls: Artists and Designers 1890-1930 (p. 90). Kirkcudbright 2000 Ltd. Printed by Alba Printers Ltd, Dumfries. </p> <p> Baile de Laperriere, Charles (Ed.) (1991). The Royal Scottish Academy Exhibitors 1826 – 1990: A Dictionary of Artists and their Work in the Annual Exhibitions of The Royal Scottish Academy Volume IV: R-Z. (p. 394) Calne, Wiltshire: Hilmarton Manor Press. </p> <p> Billcliffe, Roger. (1992). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts: 1861-1989. A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. Volume 4: Q-Z. (p.287) Bearsden, Glasgow: The Woodend Press. </p> <p> McEwan, Peter J.M. (1994) Dictionary of Scottish Art & Architecture (p. 597-598).Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club Ltd.

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