April FocusMary Armour

Throughout her illustrious career Mary Armour was bestowed with honours and accolades. Although graciously accepted they did little to change the woman who had a reputation for her straightforwardness – “forthright and blunt”, as she was sometimes described – but her apparently severe facade concealed acts of kindness, support and encouragement, both spiritual and financial, for her friends, family and, particularly, her former students.

Mary’s painting spanned the century in both its chronology and style. Until 1950 she was the perfect product of a way of teaching that put great emphasis on the traditional virtues of drawing and composition, as well as that particular Glasgow hall-mark, tonal values. But after she joined the staff of Glasgow School of Art, as she was to later acknowledge, the brighter palettes and more fluid handling of her young students caused a change in her own work. Her innate skills enabled the major change of style of the early 1950’s, which culminated in a burst of creativity spanning the next thirty years.