The Watt family origins lay in Dundee where the artist’s father had a butcher shop which went bankrupt in 1904. He went to America on his own leaving his wife and 5 children to move to Glasgow. Elizabeth Mary(1885-1954) found work designing fabrics for department stores like Saddlers and Dalys.
In 1905, at the age of 21, she enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art as a commercial artist. She took further classes in art and in teacher training and started working as an assistant art mistress at Glasgow High School for Girls in 1910.
Teaching didn’t suit her, and she returned to GSA, studying and exhibiting her art. In 1919 she was elected a member of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists and shortly set up her own studio in Charing Cross.
EMW’s early china decoration stands out for the depictions of fairies which had first featured in her watercolours, but all her work on china had a painterly feel to it.
She favoured blanks from Robert Cochrane & Co, Methvens as well as porcelain from Europe and employed a stunning range of colour and semi-naturalist leaves, flowers and branches.
She decorated a wide range of ornamental and practical objects; delicate pastels on the fine china and more robust colours on the earthenware.
Articles in SPHR
Typical Backstamps and Monograms
Initials ‘EMW’ and the date