Happy Easter!

P_1_1377In celebration of Easter and all the chocolate that will be consumed this weekend, we’ve dug out photographs of some charming Easter-themed advertising designs by a former Glasgow School of Art student. There are design proposals for packaging for Terry’s chocolate bars, and some lovely advertising posters for Easter eggs too. They date from around the 1930s and would have formed part of the (sadly unnamed) student’s course or Diploma show work.

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Happy Easter from all at the Archives and Collections Centre!


New accession of Norman McLaren material at University of Stirling Archives

University of Stirling Archives have recently blogged about a new accession of material to their Norman McLaren Archive, consisting of a set of 64 letters, letter-cards and postcards sent by McLaren to his friend (and fellow filmmaker) Helen Biggar in 1936 and 1937. You might remember from our previous post about Helen Biggar, the two met while studying at the Glasgow School of Art, and in 1936 they made the anti-war film Hell Unltd which was recently shown at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

McLaren’s letters to Biggar detail the film’s planning, editing, promotion and distribution. A letter written on 21 April 1936 captures McLaren’s excitement at a moment of creative inspiration:

“Oh Helen – it happened at 7 o’clock tonight – it burst forth like a torrent – a perfect welter and wealth of hot ideas and arrangement and everything – in fact the complete film just gushed from my subconscious mind in great detail – gee its marvelous – our new film…”

Examples of the letters and postcards sent by Norman McLaren to Helen Biggar. Courtesy University of Stirling Archives

Examples of the letters and postcards sent by Norman McLaren to Helen Biggar. Courtesy University of Stirling Archives

To find out more about the Norman McLaren Archive, visit Stirling University Archive’s website and their excellent blog.


Copyright and Artistic Designs

A few weeks ago (Monday 11 March), Clause 65 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill reached report stage in the House of Lords. The Government proposes to repeal section 52 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, and thereby increase the term of protection of copyright in mass-produced designs from 25 years to the life of the designer plus-seventy years thereafter. See CREATe (RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy) for further information and updates.

Dunkeld’s Archives go down the drain

Dunkeld’s archives used to be housed at the top of one of the stone towers at Dunkeld Cathedral, Strathtay. Their new home, in formerly disused public conveniences at a prominent position in a corner of the town cross, was officially opened today.

Architect becomes Stanford’s first “Living Archive”

Architect William McDonough, Image credit: William McDonough

Architect William McDonough, Image credit: William McDonough

American Architect William McDonough, in an attempt to record the major intellectual events in our lives instantaneously, will be the first living archive at Stanford University.

This means that the architect, a leader in sustainable development, has started filming all of his meetings and recording all of his phone conversations. The archive will even feature his Tweets. He will send them in something close to real time to Stanford, which will be making much of the material immediately accessible on the Internet.

Similar projects having been undertaken previously, but this is the first in collaboration with an institution like Stanford. It’s thought that in manifesting a real-time archive in this way, they will create a prototype for the future of digital archiving. This archive will also give current and future generations the opportunity to see inside the creative mind of one of the sustainability movement’s most important champions.

However comments in response to a New York Times article reveal the worries and potential problems associated with this sort of in-depth, personal archiving. The project and resulting archive may provide a useful, never before seen insight into the life and work of an influential architect, but it may also be the work of an over-imaginative ego or turn out to be a complete waste of time. Time will tell – what do you think? You can find out more about the project here.

International GSA: Tsoo Hong Lee

With hundreds of new international staff and students joining Glasgow School of Art each year we thought it would be interesting to reflect on those that have come to GSA from far and wide to teach and study here over the years. We start our quest with Chinese student Tsoo Hong Lee.

Tsoo Hong Lee (Li Yishi)

Tsoo Hong Lee (Li Yishi) Credit: CAFAM (The Central Academy of Fine Art Museum)

Tsoo Hong Lee (or Li Yishi) was born on the 5th August 1886 in Soochow (Suzhou), son of Pon, a retired civil servant. He was a student at Glasgow School of Art from 1907-1912, one of the earliest Chinese students to study in the UK, and certainly the first to graduate in the Fine Arts. During his time at the School he stayed at various addresses in the west end of Glasgow, including Lawrence Street in Partick, Wilton Mansions in Kelvinside (see below), and Burnbank Terrace.

GSA student register shows Chinese student Tsoo Hong Lee was a student at the School from 1907-1912, and also tell us where he lived while he was in Glasgow

GSA student registers show that Chinese student Tsoo Hong Lee was a student at the School from 1907-1912, and also provide more information such as his address in Glasgow

He studied Drawing and Painting (now known as Fine Art) under the reign of influential GSA Director Frances H Newbery and tutor Maurice Greiffenhagen. A class photograph (below) shows Tsoo Hong Lee with his classmates (and life model (far left)), Greiffenhagen and Newbery, c1910.

Tsoo Hong Lee (far right) with fellow Drawing and Painting students, and tutors Newbery and Greiffenhagen, c1910

Tsoo Hong Lee (second row from top, second from right) with fellow Drawing and Painting students, and tutors Newbery and Greiffenhagen, c1910

It seems Tsoo Hong Lee was subsequently also a student at the University of Glasgow. Lee first matriculated there in 1910-11, aged 24, joining the Faculty of Science. His graduate schedule and matriculation records reveal that during his fours years he signed up for classes and advanced classes in Mathematics, Natural Philosophy (Physics), Chemistry, and Physical Laboratory. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science (BSc) on 21 June 1915. For more information on his time at the University see his entry on the International Story website, and see also the University of Glasgow International Story blog.

Tsoo Hong Lee was one of the earliest Chinese students to study Western oil painting and watercolor painting in Europe, and after returning home to China, he pioneered the study and promotion of Western painting in Beijing’s art circle and actively taught Western painting techniques and perspectives to his students.

But only recently has it come to our attention (via a researcher in the Archives and Collections Centre) just how important a figure Tsoo Hong Lee went on to be. In 1916 he was a teacher in Beijing University’s School of Engineering, then in 1922 he became one of the founding members of the Apollo Society, one of two organizations founded that year specifically for the promotion of Western art.

The history of Beiping Art School can be traced to the State Beijing Fine Arts School, founded in 1918. The State Beijing Fine Arts School was the first State fine arts educational institute in China’s history, and also the threshold of Chinese modern fine arts education. Tsoo Hong Lee acted as the Professor and Director of the Oil Painting Department at Beijing Art School, which merged with the third campus of North China University in 1950 to form CAFA (The Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing). CAFA Museum have recently exhibited some of his work including “Portrait of Chen Shizeng” and “Portrait of Wang Mengbai” in an exhibition entitled CAFA Art Museum Collection Series: Selected Works of Oil Painting Created in the Period of the National Beiping Art School.

A portrait of Chen Shizeng by Li Yishi painted in 1920 Photo: Courtesy of CAFAM

A portrait of Chen Shizeng by Li Yishi painted in 1920 Photo: Courtesy of CAFAM

“I find several of Li Yishi’s works in the 1920s quite impressive, because they demonstrated Chinese artists’ early exploration to employ traditional skills in oil painting,” said Xu Bing, artist and CAFA’s vice-president. “Li’s portrait of Chen Shizeng in 1920 deserves special attention. Chen, then a famous painter and art educator, spearheaded the renewal of Chinese literati painting. The two adopted different art approaches but befriended each other in life,” he said. See here for more information.

A few years later, in 1922, he illustrated Bai Juyi’s Song of Unending Sorrow which was to become probably his most well known work. In the 1930s he changed his style of painting to satirical paintings, and taught in Chonyqing during WW2. He died in 1942.

Mr Dedman’s Victory Suit: Intimate stories of make do and mend exhibition

002An exhibition at Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections entitled Mr Dedman’s Victory Suit: Intimate stories of make do and mend will showcase work by Dr Amanda Ravetz, a visual anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow, Manchester University, and Antonia Riviere, a textile artist and Artist-Facilitator at Barrington Farm Art Centre, Norwich. Work on display has been produced as part of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia Scholars and Artists in Residence Research Fellowship Programme.

001Their 2 month research fellowship examined the role of improvisation in the generation of new knowledge and experience in artistic practice and everyday life. Using a range of archival materials they focused on austerity measures imposed during WW2, and contemporary revivals of make do and mend, and investigated how materials that have already had a first life come to influence a maker’s practice and capacity to innovate.

Work in progress by Antonia Riviere

Work in progress by Antonia Riviere

The exhibition includes contemporary video, textiles and archival material that explores the personal and intimate histories of repurposing and recycling.

The exhibition is free and runs from 15th April-30th August at MMU Special Collections Gallery in the Sir Kenneth Green Library, Manchester. Visit Amanda’s blog (which is a great record of the research project at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia) and MMU’s Special Collections for more details.

Fashion illustrator Julie Verhoeven creates new work inspired by the British Library

Illustrator Julie Verhoeven, famed for the bright and cheerful illustrations that have coloured numerous well known brand’s advertising campaigns such as H&M, Lancome and M.A.C., has recently created some new artwork (below) inspired by the British Library’s magazines collection and wildlife sounds. The new piece was created especially for the Spring Festival 2013 (which celebrates music, fashion and fun inspired by the Library’s collections).

6a00d8341c464853ef017c37640842970b-800wiDuring an event at the British Library, Verhoeven spoke about where she gets her inspiration from. She started the event by spreading magazine covers, comics, pieces of fabric, clothing and photographs across the floor for everyone to see (her favourites were Misty comics and Smash Hits). She mentioned her love of libraries and archives as a place for inspiration – to find serendipity and visual stimuli at a fast pace.


Visit Verhoeven’s website and her blog. See also the British Library’s excellent Cultural Industries blog, from which we heard about this story, for more details.

Part III of Mass Observation Archive now online

mass observationAdam Matthews Digital have just published the third part of the highly renowned and award winning Mass Observation Online portal.

From the end of the ‘Hungry-Thirties’ to the onset and aftermath of the Second World War, Mass Observation Online captures the daily lives, hopes and expectations of British society and beyond during the mid-20th century. The additional material made available in Section III features a remarkable array of topics, from responses to the Nuremburg Trials to sexual behaviour and holidays. Each will appeal to a wide range of disciplines from History and Literature, to Politics; Women’s Studies; Media and Film Studies; Sociology; Leisure and Tourism. The archive will also be an invaluable resource for those searching for inspiration for creative practice.

Part III includes:
Diaries, Men and Women, 1946-1950
Directives, Men and Women, 1946-1947

Topic Collections:
Propaganda and Morale, 1939-1944
Conscientious Objection and Pacifism, 1939-1944
Press, 1938-42
Police, Law and Invasion Preparations, 1939-1941
Reconstruction, 1941-1942
Coal Mining, 1938-1948
Industry, 1940-1955
Sexual Behaviour, 1939-1950
Health, 1939-1947
Family Planning, 1944-1949
Live Entertainment, 1938-1948
Sport, 1939-1947
Holidays, 1937-1951

All printed material is full-text searchable and visual or manuscript material has been keyword indexed.

Further information and access to a free trial can be found here.

Gillespie, Kidd and Coia Display in GSA Library

gkc displayJust to the left as you enter the library is a new display dedicated to celebrated architecture firm Gillespie, Kidd and Coia. The display features library materials alongside items from the recently catalogued and conserved Gillespie, Kidd & Coia archive. Amongst the pieces which took our fancy are spectacles, rulers and drafting tools; a study of the 1970 Glasgow Summer School at which Jack Coia taught; and a humorous collection of misaddressed mail which the partners chose to keep for posterity and amusement.

An introduction to the history of the firm and captions relating to the materials on display provide more information. These can also be found, along with bibliographies of related sources, in the ‘Library Display Cabinets’ folder as part of the Archives and Collections course on the VLE.

Look out for more posts about our cabinet displays which we hope to fill with lots more interesting items over the coming months. Each display will aim to highlight the connections between library holdings and those in the Archives & Collections, and will cover a broad range of taught subject areas, and GSA alumni. Ask at the librarians’ office on Level 1 of the library or at the Archives & Collections Centre if you have any questions, and see the library’s Architectural Resources blog for further inspiration.