The daughter of an English solicitor, Frances Macdonald and her sister Margaret enrolled in painting classes at the Glasgow School of Art in 1891, where they met Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Herbert Macnair and they formed the group known as the Glasgow Four. They developed a distinctive style inspired by mysticism, symbolism and the Celtic world, and like the Pre-Raphaelites they strove to reject the materialism and conservatism of the Victorian age. Their first exhibitions were not well-received and they were nicknamed ‘the Spook School’. ‘Design for a Frieze..’ is a typical example of Frances Macdonald’s work: the androgynous women surrounded by stylized lines, all of which contained an allegorical meaning. The Glasgow Four enjoyed success and influence especially in Europe, exhibiting in Belgium in 1895. In 1899 Frances Macdonald married Herbert Macnair and they settled in Liverpool, where they continued to develop their artistic styles.