Annie Louise ('Aniza') McGeehan

Sculptor

Sculptor Aniza McGeehan was born Annie Louisa (not Louise) McGeehan, at 3 Black Street, Rawyards, Airdrie on 24 December 1874. 1 She was the second of eight artistically-talented children born to Mary W. Brown and Patrick McGeehan (1847–1924), a spirit merchant and grocer, whose own parents had emigrated from Ireland in the 1820s. 2 Patrick was himself a keen amateur musician and painter, and an active member of the local Roman Catholic church. 3 In 1888 the three eldest daughters, Jessie M. (1872–1950), Annie (later Aniza) and Mary C. McGeehan (1877–1960), began classes at the Glasgow School of Art. 4

In 1892, 'A. L. McGeehan, art student, Glasgow Haldane Academy Society of Arts' (i.e. the Art School) won a local art scholarship, and in 1895, 'Aniza', a 'modeller', was joint-winner of the Haldane Travelling Scholarship worth 50. 5 Judges James Guthrie and William Leiper noted the high standard of entries. 6 This success financed a trip to Paris in 1896, where she studied at the Colorossi Academy. 7 She submitted 'a pleasantly-modelled bust of Lizzie Bell' to that year's Glasgow Fine Art Institute exhibition. 8 Meanwhile, her father sold his licensed grocery in Main Street, Coatbridge and moved to Glasgow. 9 Aniza returned home by mid-1897, when she and Jessie rented a studio (shared until 1899) in Bath Street, Glasgow. 10 Jessie became a much-admired mosaicist and painter, with commissions from St Augustine's R.C. Church, Coatbridge and St Aloyisius Church, Garnethill, Glasgow. 11

Aniza submitted a portrait of school inspector Dr Smith to two exhibitions in 1899, its 'masculine strength', contrasting with her 'delicate and refined' bust of 'Mrs D. Campbell Rowat'. 12 Her wedding, in 1900, to Liverpool timber merchant Vincent Murphy was held in St Aloyisius Church, Glasgow and conducted by her uncle, Father Charles Brown. 13 Aniza's new home, Waterloo Park in Liverpool, had a considerable Scottish population, 14 and she continued working intermittently, despite having two young children (not four as reported elsewhere). 15 Exhibits in 1903 included a bronze, 'Monsignor Nugent' at the Royal Academy, London. 16 Aniza sculpted her son John (1913), and Jessie and she later modelled for each other (c. 1929). 17

Notes:

1: Birth Certificate, www.scotlandspeople.co.uk [acccessed 4 July 2012].

2: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk; Number of children, 1911 Census, and Death Date, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 20 July 2013].

3: Elma MacDonald, 'The McGeehan Family from Rawyards', The Raddle: Journal of Monklands Heritage Society, 12, 2007, pp. 26–7.

4: Elma MacDonald, 'The McGeehan Family from Rawyards', The Raddle: Journal of Monklands Heritage Society, 12, 2007, pp. 26–7.

5: Morning Post, 20 August 1892, p. 2; Glasgow Herald, 22 May 1895, p. 6.

6: Glasgow Herald, 22 May 1895, p. 6.

7: Glasgow Herald, 26 February 1896, p. 10; Elma MacDonald, 'The McGeehan Family from Rawyards', The Raddle: Journal of Monklands Heritage Society, 12, 2007, p. 30.

8: Scotsman, 13 February 1896, p. 3.

9: Glasgow Herald, 20 May 1896, p. 3; Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 22 July 2013].

10: Glasgow Post Office Directory 1897–8, p. 356; 1899–1900, p. 375.

11: Elma MacDonald, 'The McGeehan Family from Rawyards', Raddle: Journal of Monklands Heritage Society, 12, 2007, pp. 29–30.

12: Scotsman, 20 March 1899, p. 9; Glasgow Herald, 8 April 1899, p. 7.

13: Glasgow Herald, 14 June 1900, p. 1.

14: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 20 July 2013].

15: Number of children born in total being two, 1911 Census, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 20 July 2013]; Elma MacDonald, 'The McGeehan Family from Rawyards', Raddle: Journal of Monklands Heritage Society, 12, 2007, p. 30.

16: Manchester Evening News, 2 May 1903, p. 3; 'Aniza McGeehan', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture ... 1851–1951, http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/ [accessed 13 July 2013].

17: Elma MacDonald, 'The McGeehan Family from Rawyards', Raddle: Journal of Monklands Heritage Society, 12, 2007, p. 29–30.