Published in 'The Scotsman'
"Maisie Shaw, one of the real-life
Edinburgh residents who inspired Muriel Spark’s world-famous novel
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, has died at the age of 93.
A pupil of the formidable Miss
Christina Kay at James Gillespie’s High School in the 1930s, Maisie
– along with Muriel Camberg (later Spark) – became a member of the
teacher’s “creme de la creme” inner circle and a recipient of her
distinctive brand of cultural and personal education.
Poetry and Art
"From the beginning, Maisie
displayed a strong artistic talent and became a serious rival to
Muriel in school poetry competitions.
Maisie established herself as one
of the Capital’s leading arts personalities.
Her interest in illustration and
book production led her to enrol as a student at Edinburgh College
of Art, where she later produced an illustrated collection of
"It was also during this period
that she met her future husband and leading artist, Sax Shaw.
The early period of the
relationship brought challenges after Yorkshire-born Shaw, a
conscientious objector, was exiled to farm work in the Borders and
later took a scholarship to study in Paris.
But the couple were finally able
to marry at the end of the Second World War, and both settled into
their respective careers."
"Maisie had trained as an art
teacher at Moray House – and was later posted to some of the
toughest schools in the Capital – while her husband took on the
directorship of the Capital’s Dovecot tapestry studios and also won
a long-running tenure at Edinburgh College of Art."
Home and Family
"The couple’s home quickly became
an oasis for Edinburgh’s artistic elite. The film-maker Jack Shea
and writer Bryan Appleyard were among the many personages to grace
Maisie’s New Town flat. After giving birth to two sons – Kevan and
Christian – Maisie’s art gradually took a back seat to family life.
But her interest in culture
continued. In September she was present at a memorial exhibition of
her husband’s work at the city’s Whitespace gallery.
As well as having two sons, Maisie
was also a loving grandmother to Felicity and Andrew, and, this
year, a great-grandson, Dylan."