Friday, 15 August 2014

Glasgow School of Art

The Glasgow Herald, Wednesday, June 26th, 1907

The new Art School when completed will have, along Renfrew Street, a total length of 248 feet and a depth of 77 feet. The existing eastern section is 55 feet in height, but the roof is to be removed and an attic storey added, giving a uniform height over the whole extent of the building of 72 feet. The frontage to Renfrew Street is a continuation of the design of the eastern section, but the western elevation to Scott Street will form a special feature.

At the south-west corner of the building on the second floor the library is situated. Here the building rises to a height of 100 feet, and the wall will be broken by the library windows, 20 feet in height, between which will be placed a series of emblematic figures representing art, sculpture, architecture and music. The basement floor of the building is set apart for the modelling school and a series of technical studios for metal workers, wood carvers and enamellers, bookbinders, house decorators, etc., and there is a sub-basement in which there are rooms for stone carvers, pointers and casters. The modelling school measures 120 feet by 48, and has elementary, advanced, and life classrooms. Altogether on the basement floor there is accommodation for about 200 students. The life modelling room is lighted from the roof and is 30 feet in height, an all-important matter in connection with colossal statuary, as the largest piece of sculpture may be worked inside and a number of students employed upon it. On the basement floor there is also a lecture theatre, seated for 150 students, with an independent entrance from Scott Street.

On the ground floor are situated the still life and architectural schools. The ornament and still life classes occupy the corresponding floor of the eastern section, and this portion of the new section, which will accommodate about 200 students, will be set apart for the architectural school.

Passing to the first floor, there will be here also a rearrangement of classes. The eastern section, when the building is completed, will be given over entirely in the antique school and in the new or western section will be the life school of design, a large and finely lit museum, a school library and the headmaster’s private room and studio. The life school measures 120 feet by 35 feet, with a height of 28 feet and it will accommodate about 150 students. It is splendidly lighted from the front and it has also roof-lights, the second or attic-floor being recessed about 10 feet to permit of this arrangement.

The library is a handsome apartment, 35 feet square and 23 feet high. The bookcases are so placed that there will be recesses all round the room giving ample opportunities for private study. Adjoining the library is the librarian’s room.

The second or attic-floor will be appointed entirely for studios. In the new section there will be five private studios for professors, while in the old section over the existing building there will be nine studios for advanced students or for artists visiting the city.

Hitherto there has been a lack of facilities for artists from a distance who might desire the use of a studio temporarily to do some special piece of work and the arrangement to be made in the school of art, when it reaches completion, will be a great convenience to such visitors.

Class rooms for flower painting and composition will likewise be provided on this floor immediately over the library; and connected with these rooms will be a conservatory with light from the south-east.

The Growth of the School
(from a correspondent)

Sixty-seven years ago, in the upper rooms of a house in Ingram Street – at the foot of Montrose Street – diverted for the time from its purpose as business premises into a medium for the study of other art of peace, the Glasgow School of Art started its career. And there are not a few among the older citizens of Glasgow and the neighbourhood, who can still recall with a sense, somewhat of physical discomfort, the cheerless wintry mornings that saw them wondering their anti-auroral way to receive those lessons in drawing which, though rigorous and circumscribed in dexterity, were yet in certain instances to prove of fruitful issue to the recipients, and in all cases to serve as an incentive to further progress and to higher and more purely artistic attainments.

For from this humble beginning, in these chilling, yet courageous circumstances, the Glasgow School of Art has grown in power and broadened in development, until the stately but utilitarian building pictures the present ideal which those charges with the care of art education in the Western Metropolis have decided to complete, in order to satisfy the demands of a school whose pupils are as numerous and as earnest of any art institution in the three kingdoms, and whose work is receiving recognition that begins in Glasgow, but extends among the majority of civilised communities. The strength of the school has growm with the recognition of art as a vital factor in the commercial and social life of the city. It was the foresight of a few of the leading citizens of Glasgow, interested in art education, that gave the institution its birth; just as a small body of equally intelligent civic fathers saw in the MacLellan collection of pictures the nucleus of the present famous gallery of paintings, and as the municipality has just crowned their art collections by building in Kelvingrove Park a palace fit to contain such treasures, so have the citizens and the State combined to erect an institution wherein the sons and daughters of the citizens of Glasgow may receive an art education rendering them capable in the present of appreciating art, whether pictured, carved, or manufactured, and possibly give to certain of their number that cunning of hand that may either enable them to add their picture or their sculpture to the galleries, or widen that knowledge of design and application that shall enrich the product of the factory and of the workshop.

Certain it is that it is long since that Glasgow relied upon any hands other than those of her own artists to place her among the art centres of the world and just as surely it is that designers working in Glasgow are capable of more than holding their own among the demands made by the world’s markets.

In the education alike of painter, designer, and craftsman the Glasgow School of Art has played an important part, and the governors, fully alive alike to the needs of the hour and the question of future developments, have met the responsibility committed to their charge with commendable fullness of thought and action. Their untiring efforts to make the school in every way a success has been munificently acknowledged by the State, acting through the Scottish Education Department, and as equally responded to by the municipality and by the growing circle of warm-hearted friends interested in the work and development of the school.

The building, whether studied internally or viewed from the outside, may be said to be, in more senses than one, the latest development in architectural thought, but when all is said and done there is little doubt that as a workshop it thoroughly meets all demands, and the six years that have been spent in the portion now standing have found out few faults in the outer structure or in the inner arrangements. So much is this the case that the new half is virtually to be a repeat of that now standing.

Certain changes in external treatment appear, but the spacious, well-lighted rooms that now exist are to be repeated, and the whole building when completed will be another noteworthy addition to the wealth of architectural art in Glasgow.

The design is from the firm of Honeyman, Keppie and Mackintosh, the work being carried out under the personal supervision of Mr. Mackintosh. And it may be perhaps a practical testimony to the character of the education given that Mr. Mackintosh is an artist who received his early training in the school, and who by this, his latest work, adds to his reputation as an architect and gives an added lustre to his Alma Mater.

Living and working in the school as a pupil, and having a knowledge at first hand of the requirements of an art school, Mr. Mackintosh has conceived these requirements as from the inside out-wards, and he has embodied his knowledge and experience in a building that sums up the necessities of the art education of today in a spirit that testifies to the beautiful in the essential.

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