Christian (Chris) Jane Fergusson

(Christian Stark; Christina Stark)

1876 - 1957

One of the 'Glasgow Girls' group of artists. Although known as Christian, she was born Christina Stark in Dumfries, the daughter of a solicitor, and educated at Dumfries Academy. She travelled on the Continent, and then began studying art at the Crystal Palace Art School in London. She continued her training at the Glasgow School of Art under Fra Newbery (1855 - 1946), where she distinguished herself and was also to teach until 1907. She became secretly engaged to David Fergusson, the son of a Borders clergyman in 1903 and married him five years later. After a honeymoon in Brittany, the couple settled in Maxwelltown (Dumfries) in an Arts-and-Crafts style house they designed together.

Fergusson is particularly noted for her fine watercolours, including Kirkcudbright Harbour (1905), The Midsteeple of Dumfries (1918), Pittenweem Harbour (1923), Burrow Head, Wigtownshire (1925), and the oil The Brig-End of Dumfries (1925), which now hangs in the Burgh Chambers in the town. In the 1930s her interests moved to the villages of the Berwickshire Coast - Burnmouth, Eyemouth and St. Abbs.

She was elected to the Scottish Society of Artists in 1928, and was friendly with the artists E.A. Hornel (1864 - 1933), E.A. Taylor (1874 -1951), Jessie M. King (1875 - 1949) and J.D. Fergusson (1874 - 1961). Fergusson painted with King and Taylor at High Corrie on the Isle of Arran on several occasions. She was also friendly with the author Dorothy M. Sayers who wrote The Five Red Herrings, a Lord Peter Wimsey detective novel involving Galloway artists.

She died in Dumfries Infirmary and lies buried in the High Cemetery. Fergusson has been the subject of several retrospective exhibitions in Dumfries and Kirkcudbright. Her daughter, Nan Fergusson (1910-84), was also an accomplished artist.

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