Completed Portraits: British 20th C, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 14 Is this a portrait of the artist Jessie MacGregor (1847–1919)?

Jessie MacGregor
Topic: Subject or sitter

Is this the Jessie MacGregor (1847–1919), who was awarded a gold medal at the Royal Academy?

Jessie MacGregor's work on Art UK:

Jan Toase, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Edward Stone,

This discussion is now closed. This portrait has been confirmed as one of Jessie MacGregor (1879–1951). The sitter's dates have been added to the painting's title on Art UK, and this change will be visible on the site in due course.

Thank you to all for participating in this discussion. To those viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all comments that led to this conclusion.


Jessie McGregor was born in Alexandria in 1879, the eldest of 5 sisters and one brother. Her father was employed in the local textile industry. She remained in the family house all her life and, like many thousands of women of her generation, did not marry after her sweetheart’s death in Gallipoli. The portrait is dated 1913

Betty Elzea,

This picture seems to date from the early 20th c. and cannot be of someone born in 1847.

Kieran Owens,

Apologies, Murnoch should be written Munnoch in the above.

Kieran Owens,

As a matter of additional interest, none of Munnoch's works are listed in the 1917 edition of 'The Royal Scottish Academy, 1826-1916', as compiled by Frank Rinder. He is one of the many Academy's exhibitors that seem not to have been included by this publication date. Experts on the Royal Scottish Academy might be able to offer a justifiable reason for his omission.

Osmund Bullock,

Kieran, the RSA book is not a list of all works shown there - as the title page states, it contains only "...the exhibited works by Raeburn and by Academicians, Associates and Hon. Members...".

Frustrating, I know, but there it is. A complete list would have been an undertaking of a different order of magnitude - not quite as daunting as Algernon Graves's 'Royal Academy Exhibitors', it's true, but in the same ballpark...and the eight volumes and well over 3,000 pages of that work took Graves 30 years to complete!

Martin Hopkinson,

There is a very useful 1991 publication in 4 volumes by Charles Baile de Laperriere Royal Scottish Academy 1862-1990, Hilmarton Press on the open shelves of the National Art Library - and orderable up from store in many major libraries

Andrea Kollmann,

Jessie MacGregor was Munnoch’s fiancée, and not the artist of the same name. The Stirling Local History Society posted an interesting article about her, with some biographical information
The author also argues that Miss MacGregor is the sitter in another painting, also in the collection of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum:

Kieran Owens,

Osmund, many thanks for another good lesson in proper research. I value such useful guidance and will attempt to be more rigorous in future.

Andrea, well done on posting such a useful article. I suggest that the Stirling Smith Art Gallery add the birth and death year of this Jessie McGregor (1879 - 1951) to the title, so as to avoid future confusion between this sitter and the the artist Jessie McGregor (1847 - 1919).

Osmund Bullock,

Kieran, I only realized it myself a few months ago...and that was at least five years after the book became available online, and I began to use it more regularly!

Martin, thanks very much for that about the other RSA book, which I don't think I'd noted.

Martin Hopkinson,

There is a similar set of volumes by Roger Billcliffe for the exhibitors at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. Work is also under way on the early exhibitors of the Liverpool Autumn Exhibitions.

Time to wrap up this successfully reached conclusion. The sitter is established and is not the artist of that name, but another Jessie Macgregor. The Smith Art Gallery, Stirling, has accepted the change of sitter and will change the title and dates. An interesting exercise in sources, too. Thank you all.