Jessie Marion King was born in Bearsden, Glasgow in 1875, the daughter of Mary Ann Anderson and Reverend James W King of New Kilpatrick Parish, Glasgow. She studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1892-1899 . She won a travelling scholarship from the School and which enabled her to travel to France and Italy. It was in Italy that she was influenced by the paintings of Botticelli. Her long and varied professional career began when, in 1899, a Berlin department store owner commissioned her to design a range of items, requesting that they be done in the new Scottish style . Book design and illustration dominated her early work, but her talents extended over many areas: posters, bookplates, book covers, jewelry, ceramics, wallpaper, fabrics, murals, interior design, and costumes. In 1902, her efforts as a book designer were recognized with a gold medal in the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Turin for the book L'Evangile de l'Enfance . Starting that same year, King taught Book Decoration at Glasgow school of Art, influencing others with her sense of design. In 1908 she married fellow artist and Glasgow School of Art alumni Ernest Archibald Taylor, who worked in as many different media as she. It is interesting to note that, despite common convention, King retained her maiden name after her marriage, no doubt because of the success she had already attained.
Two year later, In 1910, King and Taylor moved to Paris where they lived until the outbreak of World War I. Taylor was a professor at the Studio School of Drawing and Painting, and, together with King, they ran a studio gallery called the Shealing Atelier of Oil and Watercolour Painting, Design and the Applied Arts . They spent their summers on the Isle of Arran, where they ran a summer sketching school. Returning to Scotland in 1920, they settled in the artist community of Kirkcudbright, where King established Green Gate Close, an important centre for women artists. King was the creative force in the close and maintained a studio there where she worked on ceramics. Sometimes, she and Taylor would collaborate on furniture or interior design. King experimented with batik, a wax-resist technique that she learned while in Paris, applying it to fabric and clothing. She was instrumental in introducing the technique to Scotland by giving classes at Green Gate. Many of her scarf designs were bought by the London department store, Liberty's. She died on 3 August 1949 in Kirkcudbright.
From the guide to the Papers of Jessie Marion King, 1875-1949, designer and illustrator and Ernest Archibald Taylor, 1874-1951, designer and artist, 1815-1975, (Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department)