Mary Galway Houston (c.1871 - ):
Mary Houston came from Coleraine, County Londonderry and in 1890 went to study at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. In 1894 and 1895 she exhibited lace and crochet at the Royal Dublin Society and black and white drawings at the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland. The following year she won prizes for leather-work and repousse metal-work. In 1896 she moved to London to study at South Kensington where she became extremely successful. She began to exhibit with the English Arts and Crafts Society, and won a gold medal for a modelled leather book cover. In 1901 she exhibited with the Royal Academy. Her book bindings, including the Rubiayat of Omar Kayam were very popular and she also embossed and modelled leather panels. She was also a fine metal-worker, working in silver, copper and pure tin and in 1900, her toilet set in beaten silver was sent to the Paris exhibition as an example of work from British Art Schools. She often used designs inspired by Irish myth and legend. She was commissioned by the Studio to design two silver trophies. Later in her career she turned to Celtic style designs. Although an international artist, she continued to exhibit at the Royal Dublin Society and at the Irish Decorative Art Association Exhibitions held in Portrush, County Antrim. She joined the staff of Camberwell School of Art and became interested in costume design, and wrote three books on the subject: Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Persian Costumes (with Florence Hornblower); Medieval Costume in England and France and Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Costume.