E.A. Taylor

Early Life Ernest Archibald Taylor was born in Greenock on September 5th 1874. His father was a Major in the Royal Artillery, and Ernest was the 15th of a family of 17 children. His uncle brought him up, and in 1893 became an apprentice designer/engineer at the Glasgow shipbuilding firm of Scott and Co.. On its completion he worked there as a draughtsman until 1898. In 1897 he met his future wife, Jessie M King, when he moved into the same block of studio apartments in St. Vincent Street, Glasgow. They became engaged in November 1898, and around this time he began evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art, where Jessie was a full-time student.

In July 1898 Taylor went to work for Wylie & Lochhead, a Glasgow firm of furniture makers, and became their chief designer in the art furniture department in 1901. His furniture and interior room designs were exhibited at the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1901, and in Budapest and Turin in 1902. 

In 1903 he was appointed as a part-time lecturer in furniture design at the Glasgow School of Art, where his fiancée,  Jessie, was also teaching. He continued his weekly lectures even after moving to Manchester in 1906 as the designer/manager for George Wragge Ltd.. In Manchester, he was particularly involved in design for stained glass window commissions. 

In September 1908, he and Jessie married, and after a honeymoon in Arran, the couple set up home in Salford, near Manchester, where their only child, Merle, was born in August, the following year. 

Artist and Teacher 

In April 1910, Taylor accepted a teaching post in a private art school in Paris. It was an unhappy move, and in 1911 he and Jessie set up their own school - The Shealing Atelier - at their own home in the Montparnasse quarter of the city. 

In summer the Taylors also ran painting schools at High Corrie, on Arran, using Jessie's house 'Greengate' in Kirkcudbright as a staging post from Paris. 

As well as teaching, Taylor also worked on designs for stained glass commissions, and was appointed the Paris correspondent of the influential London art journal - The Studio. 

The outbreak of the  First World War, and the consequent loss of students, prompted the Taylors to leave Paris for Kirkcudbright .The art school was not revived after the war, but Taylor kept on their Paris apartment for his visits for The Studio. 

The Public Figure 

In 1921 a solo exhibition of Taylor's landscape paintings of Arran and Kirkcudbright was held in Taylor and Brown's gallery in Glasgow. The following year, he was one of the founding members of the Dumfries and Galloway Fine Art Society. 

Recognised as an authority on contemporary art in the 1920s and 1930s, Taylor continued teaching through the Arran summer school, and lecturing and writing on art topics for The Studio. With his wife, Jessie M King, he was also involved in several interior mural designs for Lanarkshire schools. 

Locally he was regarded as a man of letters and a gifted public speaker, carrying out engagements such as the opening of Burns House in Dumfries in 1935. 

The summer schools were not revived after the Second World War, and Taylor's last years were spent quietly in Kirkcudbright. Jessie M King died in 1949, and in November 1951 Taylor suffered a heart attack, dying at the age of 77. 

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