Monday, 21 October 2013
She was one of 'the MacDonald sisters', four Birmingham siblings who all made remarkable marriages - Alice marrying John Lockwood Kipling and giving birth to Rudyard, Agnes marrying the PRA Edward Poynter, Louisa marrying Alfred Baldwin and giving birth to PM-to-be Stanley, and Georgiana marrying Edward B-J, bearing him an extensive family, and enduring the public scandal of Ned's passionate affair with a Greek model (who at one point tried to drown herself in the Regent's Canal).
With all that to cope with, Georgiana - who had shown such early promise, and in her teens had mingled on equal terms with the Pre-Raphaelites and the William Morris circle - was obliged to give up her own artistic endeavours and devote herself to caring for the growing family. Looking back years later, she wrote, poignantly and honestly: 'I remember the feeling of exile with which I now heard through [the studio's] closed door the well-known voices of friends, together with Edward's familiar laugh, while I sat with my little son on my knee and dropped selfish tears on him as "separator of companions and the terminator of delights".' In terms of her artistic career, then, Georgiana was pretty much a talented youngster who disappeared without trace - but at least there's that enamel-bright Dead Bird hanging in the Tate.