Education, Visual Art and Cultural Revival: Tagore, Geddes, Nivedita, and Coomaraswamy

Main Article Content

Murdo J S Macdonald


Rabindranath Tagore and Patrick Geddes were part of the same milieu long before they met. They were both internationally minded cultural thinkers. The links between them are illuminated by consideration of their links with two other internationally minded cultural activists: the Irishwoman Margaret Noble, better known as Sister Nivedita, and the historian of art and ideas Ananda Coomaraswamy. The lives of all four exemplify educational and political expression driven by spiritual commitment and underpinned by literature and the visual arts. 

Article Details

Author Biography

Murdo J S Macdonald, University of Dundee

Murdo Macdonald is Professor of History of Scottish Art at the University of Dundee. His doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh explored the relationships between art and science. He is a former editor of Edinburgh Review. His research interests include the art of the Scottish Gàidhealtachd, the cultural milieu of Patrick Geddes (not least with respect to India), visual interpretations of the life and work of Robert Burns, and the cloud chamber photography of the Scottish physicist and Nobel laureate C. T. R. Wilson. He has a longstanding interest in Ossian and art in an international context, which he explored as part of the Cesarotti project at the University of Padua in 2013. He is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was appointed an honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture in 2009, and an honorary fellow of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies in 2016.


Ashbee, C. R., ‘The “Norman Chapel” Buildings at Broad Campden, in Gloucester-shire’, Studio, 41 (1907), pp. 289-296

———, Foreword to A. K. Coomaraswamy, The Indian Craftsman (London: Probsthian, 1909.)

Boardman, Philip, The Worlds of Patrick Geddes: Biologist, Town Planner, Re-educator, Peace-Warrior (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978)

Brockington, J. L., The Sacred Thread: A Short History of Hinduism, 2e (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Buist, R. C., ‘The Newest Scots College: Some Account of the Work of Patrick Ged-des’, The Scots Magazine, New Series, 8: 5 (1928), pp. 321-324

Caw, James L. Scottish Painting: Past and Present (Edinburgh: T. C. & E. C. Jack, 1908)

Chabard, P., ‘Paris-Montpellier-Domme: French Migrations of the Outlook Tower 1900-1924-1937’, Journal of the Scottish Society of Art History, 9 (2004), 79-86

Coomaraswamy, Ananda K., ‘Observations on the Tiree Marble, with Notes on others from Iona’, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 59 (1903) p. 91-102.

———, Mediaeval Sinhalese Art (Broad Campden: Essex House Press, 1908)

———, Essays in National Idealism (Colombo: Colombo Apothecaries, 1909)

———, ‘Indian Bronzes’, Burlington Magazine, Vol. 27., April-September (1910), pp. 86-94.

———, Art and Swadeshi (Madras: Ganesh Press, 1912)

———, ‘Indian Images with Many Arms’, Burlington Magazine, Vol. 22, October 1912 – March 1913., pp.189-196.

———, The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon (Edinburgh: T. N. Foulis, 1913)

———, The Dance of Shiva (New York: Sunwise Turn,1918.)
Coomaraswamy, R. P., Ananda Coomaraswamy: Bibliography/Index (Berwick-upon-Tweed: Prologos,1988)

Cousineau, Phil. ed., The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on his Life and Work (New York: HarperCollins,1990.)

Crawford, Alan, Ananda Coomaraswamy and C. R. Ashbee, in Ananda Coomaras-wamy: Remembering and Remembering Again, ed. by S. D. R. Singam (Kuala Lumpur: printed for the editor, 1974)

———, ‘Lost and Found: Architectural Projects after Glasgow’, in C. R. Mackintosh: The Chelsea Years, ed. by Alan Crawford and Janet Bassett-Lowke (Glasgow: Hunterian Gallery, 1994), pp. 4-18.
Crouch, J. S., A Bibliography of Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (New Dehli: Ma-nohar, 2002).

Defries, Amelia, The Interpreter – Geddes: the Man and his Gospel (London: Routledge, 1927)

———, Pioneers of Science (London: Routledge, 1928)

Evenson, Norma, The Indian Metropolis (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1988)

Fowle, Frances and Belinda Thomson, eds., Patrick Geddes: The French Connection (Oxford: White Cockade, 2004)

Fraser, Bashabi, ed., Geddes-Tagore Correspondence (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Review, 2002)

———, ed., Geddes-Tagore Letters (Edinburgh: Word Power Books, 2005)

Geddes, Arthur. 1948. ‘The “Outer” Hebrides’, The New Naturalist, Summer (1948), 72-76

Geddes, Arthur and Frank Spaven, The Highlands and Isles: Their Regional Planning (Edinburgh: Outlook Tower, 1949)

———, ed., The Songs of Craig and Ben Volume I (Edinburgh: Serif Books, 1951)

———, ed. The Songs of Craig and Ben Volume II (Glasgow: William Maclellan, 1961)

———, Presenting Tagore in Sound and Sight (Edinburgh: Adam House, 1961)

———, ‘Geddes, Sir Patrick (1854–1932)’, Dictionary of National Biography, Compact Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), p. 2649

Geddes, Patrick, The Masque of Learning and its Many Meanings, a Pageant of Education through the Ages: Devised and Interpreted by Patrick Geddes, Semi-Jubilee of University Hall (Edinburgh: Patrick Geddes and Colleagues, 1912)

———, The Masque of Ancient Learning and its Many Meanings, A Pageant of Edu-cation from Primitive to Celtic Times Devised and Interpreted by Patrick Geddes (Edinburgh: Patrick Geddes and Colleagues, 1913)

———, ‘Margaret Noble (Sister Nivedita)’, The Sociological Review, 6 (1913), 242-256

———, An Indian Pioneer of Science: The Life and Work of Sir Jagadis C. Bose (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1920)

———, Dramatisations of History (Bombay & Karachi: The Modern Publishing Co., London: Sociological Publications; Edinburgh: Patrick Geddes and Colleagues, 1923.)

Geddes, Patrick and Jacqueline Tyrwhitt, Patrick Geddes in India (London: Lund Humphries, 1947)

Guha-Thakurta, Tapati, The Making of a New ‘Indian’ Art: Artists, Aesthetics and Nationalism in Bengal, c. 1850-1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Herringham, C. ‘The Frescoes of Ajanta’, Burlington Magazine, 17 (1910), pp. 136-138

Iyer, M. Srinivasa, ‘Sister Nivedita’, in Eminent Orientalists: Indian, European, Amercian, (Madras: G. A. Nateson & Co., 1922), pp. 257-282

Lipsey, R., Coomaraswamy, His Life and Work (Princeton: Bollingen, 1977)

MacCarthy, Fiona. The Simple Life: C. R. Ashbee in the Cotswolds (London: Lund Humphries, 1981)

Macdonald, Murdo, ‘Sir Patrick Geddes: Pilgrimage and Place’, in J. M. Fladmark (ed.) In Search of Heritage as Pilgrim or Tourist (Shaftesbury: Donhead, 1998)

———, ‘A European Scot: Patrick Geddes’, Etudes Ecossaise 6, Hiver (1999-2000), pp. 43-6

———, ‘Celticism and Internationalism in the Circle of Patrick Geddes’, Visual Culture in Britain 6: 2 (2005), pp. 70-83

———, ‘Patrick Geddes and Cultural Renewal through Visual Art: Scotland-India-Japan’, in Patrick Geddes: By Leaves We Live, ed. by K. Okutsu, A. Johnston, M. Macdonald and N. Sadakata (Yamaguchi and Edinburgh: Yamaguchi Institute of Contemporary Art, 2005), pp. 46-72

———, ‘Pointing to Iona: Patrick Geddes, John Duncan and Ananda Coomaraswa-my’, Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History 11 (2006), pp. 43-51

Meller, Helen, Patrick Geddes: Social Evolutionist and City Planner (London: Routledge, 1990)

Mitter, Partha, Much Maligned Monsters: History of European Reactions to Indian Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977)

———, Art and Nationalism in Colonial India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994)

———, ‘The Raj, Indian Artists, and Western Art’, in The Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Painting 1780-1910, ed. by Joachim K. Bautze (Alexandria, Virginia: Art Services International, 1998, pp. 33-37

———, Indian Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)
Mumford, Lewis, The Condition of Man (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1944)

———, The Disciple’s Rebellion’, Encounter, 27: 3 (1966), pp. 11-21
Nivedita, Sister, Kali the Mother (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co, 1900) Nivedita, Sister, The Web of Indian Life (London: Heinemann, 1904)

———, Select Essays of Sister Nivedita (Madras: Ganesh and Co, 1911)

———, The Web of Indian Life (London: Longmans, 1918)
Nivedita, Sister, and Coomaraswamy, Ananda K, Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists (London: Harrap, 1913)

Novak, F. G., ed., Lewis Mumford and Patrick Geddes: The Correspondence (London & New York: Routledge, 1995)

Okutsu, Kiyoshi, ‘Aesthetics of the Meiji Era and Geddesian Thought’ in K. Okutsu, et al., Patrick Geddes: By Leave We Live (Edinburgh and Yamaguchi: Yamaguchi Institute of Contemporary Art, 2005) pp. 11- 45

Okutsu, Kiyoshi, Johnston, A., Macdonald, M., and Sadakata, N., eds., Patrick Geddes: By Leaves We Live (Edinburgh and Yamaguchi: Yamaguchi Institute of Contemporary Art, 2005)

Okakura, Kakuzo, ‘Notes on Contemporary Japanese Art’, The Studio 25 (1902), pp. 126-128

———, The Ideals of the East with Special Reference to the Art of Japan (London: John Murray, 1903)

———, The Book of Tea (Boston: Duffield, 1906)

———, The Book of Tea (Edinburgh: T. N. Foulis, 1919)

———, The Book of Tea (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1989)

Ratcliffe, S. K. Margaret Noble (Sister Nivedita), (London: Sherratt and Hughes, 1913)

Tagore, Rabindranath, Gitanjali and Fruit-Gathering, illustrated edition (New York: Macmillan, 1918)

———, Introduction to Sister Nivedita, The Web of Indian Life (London: Longmans, 1918)

———, Foreword’, in The Interpreter: Geddes, the Man and his Gospel by A. Defries, (London: Routledge, 1927), p. xiii

———, The Religion of Man (New York: Macmillan, 1931)

———, Tribute’ in S. K. Ratcliffe, Margaret Noble (Sister Nivedita), (London: Sherratt & Hughes, 1913), pp. 18-19

Welter, Volker, ‘Arcades for Lucknow: Patrick Geddes, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Reconstruction of the City’, Architectural History, 42 (1999), 316-332

Welter, Volker and James Lawson, eds. The City after Patrick Geddes (Berne: Peter Lang, 2000)