CONNECTING WHISTLER: Festschrift for Margaret F. MacDonald

This Festschrift for Margaret MacDonald is to honour what Whistler surely would have called ‘the experience of a lifetime’. This compilation of essays presents a wide range of connections to Whistler.  Despite the great variety, in each of these papers Margaret’s work and influence, as scholar, colleague and friend, is present. The authors connected Whistler to their own interests and work, building on the huge body of research and knowledge gathered by Margaret, and addressing many of her wide-ranging interests such as nineteenth-century dress, women’s studies, artistic practice, printmaking, European connections and the list goes on.

The contributions show how omnivorous nowadays art historians are, but also how many connections to Whistler can be made; theoretical, visual, practical. Several papers are written by Margaret’s present and former PhD students who would happily nominate her the mother of all supervisors. In Germany, doctoral supervisors are called ‘Doktorvater’ or ‘Doktormutter’, and nobody earns the title of a ‘doctoral mother’ more than Margaret MacDonald. When her ‘doctoral children’ discovered new evidence, she would encourage them: ‘Go on, prove me wrong!’ Her open mind is an example to all scholars.

As a colleague and friend there was always time for coffee and cake, and lively discussion about Whistler, art, life (both academic and normal), the Glasgow Women’s Library, films, travel, good food, watercolour painting and countryside escapades. Margaret brings real life with her. She is the kind of person who can always be counted on when it matters, and always gets her priorities right – people first.

Margaret is also one of those scholars who is very generous in sharing knowledge, always encouraging new research and enthusing young scholars who are about to enter academia, and particularly the wonderful world of Whistlerian studies. Through this volume we wish to thank her for all of that and much more. But of course this Festschrift would not have been made without the enthusiasm and work from all the authors, and we are grateful for their contributions.

Erma Hermens, Joanna Meacock, Grischka Petri, editors

Glasgow, December 2010

Art Institute of Chicago print room