Winifred McKenzie

Born: 1905
Died: 2001

McKenzie was born in India in 1905 and her sister Alison two years later. The family moved to Scotland in 1913 and she attended the Glasgow School of Art, then moving to London attending classes with her sister studying wood engraving and colour woodblock printing under renowned wood engraver, Iain Macnab at The Grosvenor School of Modern Art. They had been recommended the school by Macnab’s sister, Chica Macnab, who had been one of their tutors at Glasgow. Winfred exhibited widely and developed as a master wood engraver and printmaker in the 20s and 30s. The family moved to St Andrews to escape the Blitz in 1940. After the War both she and her sister stayed in Fife teaching in Dundee until 1957. The influence of William McCance is discernible at times but many of her later still life seems well grounded in the Edinburgh School with McTaggart, Redpath and Gillies recalled. Blue Still Life is a successful, luscious example where the paint is freely manipulated, the colour is strong

and drawing decisive. The National Galleries of Scotland have examples of her work and the

St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum have built a collection of work by both Winifred and Alison.

Chica Macnab had a story, perhaps all too typical of the times. She was a founder member of the Society of Artist Printers, studied at GSA, then was offered a job running a course in wood engraving and woodblock printing (the McKenzie sisters took the course, as did Ian Fleming). It ran only from 1926–27 as she got married in 1927. Under college rules women had to give up their job when they got married. However, what is interesting in Macnab’s case is that the then Principal offered to waive the rule on her behalf in order that she could continue teaching, so highly regarded was she. However, she still chose to leave and devoted herself to raising a family, only returning to art (oil painting, rather than printmaking) after her husband died in 1979.

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