'The Leaf of Gold' , James Herbert McNair

Long vertical image with four figures, description in main text below

Pencil, pastel, chalk, and silver paint on card; stained wood frame
s. and d.b.r.: 'J. Herbert MACNAIR 1898'; label fragment v. inscr.: 'F of GOLD'
45.7 x 15.1 (18 x 6)
The Glasgow School of Art Collection

In 1896 McNair held his first one-man show, an exhibition of pastels at the Gutekunst Gallery, London. Twenty-one works, including this, were displayed in distinctive dark-stained wood frames.

McNair had clearly drawn inspiration from Whistler’s exhibition installations, even down to the typesetting of the catalogue.

The entry for this work explained, ‘The Fairy is guarding the Leaf of Love from the Witch of Evil who has robbed the Tree of Life of all its other leaves.’