Margaret Lawson McIntyre, artist and window dresser. Born: 29 April 1926 in Aberdeen. Died: 1 August, 2016, in Swindon, aged 90
Margaret Lawson McIntyre was an accomplished artist who had also been one of Scotland’s first female window dressers.
The art of attracting custom through fabulous window displays had been pioneered by L Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the creations he exhibited in the shop front of his Baum’s Bazaar in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
But it was in the windows of department store Watt & Grant in Aberdeen, Scotland that young Margaret honed her trade. After leaving school in the Granite City she persuaded the proprietors of the shop, situated in what was then one of the country’s finest streets, to give her the job which had once been a male domain. It was clear then that she had a creative streak and in subsequent years she opted to study at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen.
A first marriage followed, during which she had her daughter Lydia in 1956, but by her own admission life didn’t truly begin until she met the man who would become her second husband, Malcolm McIntyre.
The couple met as 1961 drew to a close and were married the following summer. Margaret and Lydia accompanied Malcolm on several tours of duty with Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, firstly in Egypt and then in South Africa, where she developed a passion for and appreciation of wildlife.
She studied in Capetown, under the Austrian colourist Professor Alfred Krenz, who had fled his homeland and settled there after the Second World War, and in Pretoria with the South African artist Anna Vorster. There she developed highly skilled techniques in pastel, her affinity with nature producing uniquely sensitive works.
Her main subjects were landscapes, wildlife and portraiture and her works are held by collectors internationally, including celebrities, dignitaries and institutions.
She was later sought after as a tutor and demonstrating artist. She worked for artists’ suppliers including Daler, Royal Talens of Holland, Winsor & Newton and Rowney, which had supplied the artists Constable and Turner with paints.
She also wrote about art for magazines including Artists and Illustrators, The Artist and Leisure Painter and produced a series, Art Is The Question, for Scotland on Sunday.
Latterly she lived in Swindon, where she used her artistic talents to raise funds and awareness for a variety of causes including Guide Dogs for the Blind, Maggie’s Centre and various military charities.
She continued tutoring art courses until she was in her eighties and through her own website, also named Art Is The Question, she enthusiastically encouraged hesitant would-be artists to take the plunge, join an art club and “start another great adventure.”
As a demonstrator, Margaret had enjoyed being involved with many great art clubs across the country and the fantastic diversity of art work they produced.
“This wonderful pastime,” she said of art, “is a lifelong enjoyment with no age barrier.”
Predeceased by her daughter, she is survived by her husband, two grandchildren and two great granddaughters.