Agnes Miller Parker

By Ashleigh Harvey, Club21 Intern

We are always very excited to welcome the donation of a book about an artist with a close association with Glasgow School of Art. This time we have a lovely book called The Agnes Miller Parker Collection by Ian Rogerson which details all the books ever illustrated by Parker which are held at the Manchester Polytechnic Library. Only twenty -five copies have been made of this 1989 edition so we are lucky that one has found its way here to replace the other two editions lost in the Mackintosh Library fire.

The Agnes Miller Parker Collection donation, see more at http://capitadiscovery.co.uk/gsa/items?query=Agnes+Miller+Parker

The Agnes Miller Parker Collection donation, see more at http://capitadiscovery.co.uk/gsa/items?query=Agnes+Miller+Parker

Portrait of Agnes Miller Parker William McCance, 1918, National Galleries of Scotland

Portrait of Agnes Miller Parker
William McCance,
1918, National Galleries of Scotland.

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Agnes Miller Parker (1895-1980) graduated from GSA in drawing and painting in 1916 and then went on to teach at the School in 1918 before moving to England for the most part of her life. Also, during her year as an instructress she married fellow graduate William McCance and had the same Vorticist approach to painting during this period. However, it is for her skilful work in wood engraving for which she is best known.

The Challenge, Agnes Miller Parker, 1934, wood engraving on paper, National Galleries Scotland.

The Challenge, Agnes Miller Parker, 1934, wood engraving on paper, National Galleries Scotland.

During 1930 to 1933 Parker and her husband were employed at Greynog Press where she illustrated two of the most exceptional works to come from that establishment: The Fables of Esope (1931) and Twenty-One Welsh Gypsy Folk (1933). Fortunately, GSA have also been donated a rare copy of the latter by Blackwell’s Books which is held in the Special Collections. Much of Parker’s later work was her most successful when she worked for the elite George Macy’s Limited Editions Club of New York. One of the best-selling titles was Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard (1951) and one of the original engravings by Parker can be found touring the schools and libraries in Argyll and Bute.

Stanza 16, Gray’s Elegy, 1938, wood engraving and is signed and titled bottom centre, Argyll and Bute Council

Stanza 16, Gray’s Elegy, 1938, wood engraving and is signed and titled bottom centre, Argyll and Bute Council.

Parker’s outstanding work is not as well-known in Scotland as it should be but thanks to this donation to the School we are once again able to celebrate and share her work.

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