Media File
Rachel Cassels Brown
Date: Scottish artist, children's illustrator, lithographer and etcher, 1875–1953
Biography: Rachel Cassels Brown, née Wilson, was born on the 29th December 1875, the ninth in a family of 16 children. Her father was Factor to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon's considerable estates around Huntly in Aberdeenshire, and her uncle was the somewhat forgotten (until recently) late Pre-Raphaelite adherent painter, George Wilson (1848-1890). She undertook formal musical and art training, first in London for two years and then - at the inspiringly early age of 18 - in Paris for a further four years. In Paris, she initially attended the Académie Delecluse and then later became Assistant in the private studio of the painter and illustrator Émile Barau-Bacou (1851-1930).

Once she had finally returned home, and much influenced by the Art Nouveau movement, Rachel found a natural affinity with the Glasgow School and, while living in Rock Ferry near Liverpool, she became acquainted with the two MacDonald sisters - in particular, with Frances MacNair, who invited her to work in her studio.

During her short professional career, Rachel designed and illustrated three original children's books (only one of which - The Story of the StubbyDub - was published quite successfully) and two series of lithographed and hand-colored nursery rhyme illustrations. She also worked in many of the media available to the practical 'commercial' application of the Art Nouveau movement, including pottery, jewelry design, and bookplate and Christmas card production, but her ultimate attainment was to become a highly accomplished etcher. For this, she studied under her friend, the acclaimed etcher and collector, Dr. Samuel Nazeby Harrington, and produced some excellent impressions of both landscape and allegorical subjects.