New Glasgow Miracle blog post

Visit the Glasgow Miracle blog for Caroline Gausden’s new post.

Uneasy Balance, new publication edited by Professor Christopher Platt

Chris Platt, Head and Professor at the Mackintosh School of Architecture is the editor of a new book entitled Uneasy Balance, a memento to the design and construction of Glasgow School of Art’s new, recently named, Seona Reid Building, by Steven Holl Architects.

Published at the time of topping out, this slim, pocket-sized volume is a fitting tribute to the germination, growth and realisation of Holl’s intelligent architectural design. The book is illustrated with specially commissioned photographs as well as drawings and sketches. Some of these drawings are the loose, inky architectural sketches from the office of Steven Holl Architects. There are also some of the Mackintosh Building from Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections, such as the one featured below.
Section of Glasgow School of Art, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1910

Section of Glasgow School of Art, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1910

The book contains four essays and an illuminating interview with Steven Holl in which he imparts the concept behind his “thin skin/thick bones” design, reveals some of his working practices and discusses architecture as art form.

Books are priced at £15 and can be purchased from the Glasgow School of Art shop. GSA Library will also be cataloging a couple of copies to place on the shelves in September, once the current refurbishment project is complete. You can find out more about GSA’s campus redevelopment here.

Mostly reblogged from GSA Library’s excellent Architectural Resources blog

Download a masterpiece from the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum, which holds masterpieces by, amongst others, Rembrandt, van Gogh and Vermeer, has taken the unusual step of not just allowing – but encouraging – people to download high-resolution images of items from its collections at no cost. They have even provided an interactive section of their website, Rijkstudio, where users are invited to copy and transform artworks into stationery, T-shirts, plates and even toilet paper.

While many have digitized their collections and made low-resolution images available in online catalogues, museums (and archives too) have generally always been highly-protective of supplying high-quality images of items from their collections (though allowing use through Creative Commons is becoming more and more popular). Usually these are available only by request to genuine researchers, scholars and publishers with strict restrictions on how they can be used, a) to preserve copyright and b) to maintain control over potential revenues.  The Rijksmuseum’s collections however, mostly predate Dutch copyright laws, and users of the Rijkstudio are advised to refrain from using the website for commercial gain.

Taco Dibbits, Director of Collections at the Rijksmuseum has said:

We’re a public institution, and so the art and objects we have, are, in a way, everyone’s property… With the internet, it’s so difficult to control your copyright or use of images that we decided we’d rather people use a very good high-resolution image from the Rijksmueum rather than using a very bad reproduction… If they want to have a Vermeer on their toilet paper, I’d rather have a very high-quality image of Vermeer on toilet paper than a very bad reproduction.

Jan Davidsz de Heem

Still Life by Jan Davidsz de Heem, 17th Century, which has been reworked into a tattoo template by Dutch design cooperative Droog

To inspire users, Dutch design cooperative Droog were invited to create products based on the Rijsmuseum’s artwork. So they used part of a 17th century still life of a flower by Jan Davidsz de Heem to create a template for a tattoo. See here for more examples of how they’ve used the collections.

Visit the Rijkstudio and create your own masterpiece from a masterpiece.

GSA Library Special Collections blog relaunch

GSATREASURESGSA Library’s Special Collections blog has just relaunched in a beautiful new WordPress format. Special Collections is home to, amongst other fabulous collections, The Stoddard Design Library (the in-house reference library of one of the world’s most successful carpet manufacturers) and a collection of Glasgow Style bookbindings including those by Talwin Morris, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and “Glasgow Girl” Jessie M King. Take a look at the new site for more information about their wonderful collections, which also includes artist’s books, engravings, prize books and trade journals.

Bookbinding by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Bookbinding from the Glasgow Style collection

Design from the Stoddard Design Library

Design from the Stoddard Design Library

The blog is brimming with inspirational images. Examples of how artists and other creative practitioners have been using the library and Special Collections in their work are available on The Hatchery. Visit the blog and be inspired!

Thomas Annan’s images of Glasgow’s past

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Thomas Annan – The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow, Sp Coll Dougan 64

The Glasgow photographer Thomas Annan’s collection of photographs featuring the old closes and streets of Glasgow held in the University of Glasgow Library’s Special Collections is a wonderful resource. Created between 1868 and 1871 as part of a commission from the City of Glasgow Improvements Trust, this collection of images of the working class areas of old Glasgow helped document the impoverished living conditions of the working class at the time.

In 1866, the City of Glasgow passed an act through Parliament which authorised it to destroy the appalling slums of the City Parish. When it was decided in 1868 to make an effort to document the character and conditions of the old town, Thomas Annan was the obvious choice. Annan had previously photographed some of the busier thoroughfares of Glasgow, providing us with some historic record of the city’s more populous streets. When his focus was shifted to the confining closes, he provided us with another kind of record: the earliest comprehensive series of photographs of an urban slum – the very slum which was considered to be the worst in Britain.

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Thomas Annan’s son James Craig Annan is the photographer behind many of the most famous images of our very own Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Image courtesy T. & R. Annan & Sons Ltd.

Image courtesy T. & R. Annan & Sons Ltd.

For more information visit the University of Glasgow Library’s Special Collections website. Check out their online collection highlights and virtual displays for more inspiration.

UNESCO 2013 UK Memory of the World Register

MoW logoThe first inscriptions to the UK Memory of the World Register were announced in July 2010 to highlight documentary heritage which holds cultural significance specific to the UK. The UK Register helps raise awareness of some of the UK’s exceptional, but lesser-known documentary riches by awarding them with the globally-recognised Memory of the World status. As of 2013, there are 41 items and collections on the UK Register.

The UK Register complements the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register, which is a catalogue of documentary heritage of global significance and outstanding universal value. Country-level Memory of the World Registers exist around the globe, helping to promote documentary heritage of local significance.

The UK Memory of the World programme is part of UNESCO’s work to promote preservation of and access to the world’s archive holdings and library collections. Country-level Memory of the World Registers exist around the globe, helping to promote documentary heritage of local significance. The international-level register, which features items of global significance, includes items from the UK such as 1215 Magna Carta, the Mappa Mundi and the film The Battle of the Somme.

Hitchcock's silent films have been added to the register

Hitchcock’s silent films have been added to the register

On 9 July 2013 eleven items and collections became the third round of inscriptions to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register. Those new to the list include Hitchcock’s silent films held by the BFI and the Domesday Book, held by the National Archives.

The Domesday Book has been added to the register this year

The Domesday Book has been added to the register this year

See the UK National Commission UNESCO website for more information and to view items selected in previous years.

New Glasgow Miracle blog post

his is a photo of some of the original folder labels containing outreach to other countries and international artists.

This is a photo of some of the original folder labels containing outreach to other countries and international artists.

There’s a new, very interesting, post on the Glasgow Miracle blog about the importance of location and access in archives. See the post here.

Take a look at our website for more information about the Glasgow Miracle project.

CAT archive prints on display at Building Scotland 1945-1985 exhibition

Calyx by Lucienne Day

Calyx by Lucienne Day

Glasgow School of Art’s Centre for Advanced Textiles produces printed fabrics using beautiful prints from the design archives of Lucienne Day, Lana MacKinnon, and GSA’s very own Robert Stewart and Sylvia Chalmers as part of their Classic Textiles range (see our previous blog post about how the Sew Last Century! textiles group have been inspired by Sylvia’s designs in our archives).

Lucienne Day’s ‘Calyx’ and Robert Stewart’s ‘Otter Ferry’ from the Classic Textiles collection will be on display this Friday, 12th July, at the opening event of the photo exhibition “Building Scotland 1945-1985” at the Glasgow City Heritage Trust. There will also be short talks by Ross Brown, architectural historian Nick Haynes and Alan Shaw from CAT, with drinks and nibbles, for free.

RSVP at or on 0141 552 1331

Glasgow City Heritage Trust

54 Bell Street, Glasgow, G1 1LQ

You can keep up to date with CAT by subscribing to their blog, or follow CAT on Twitter.

Otter Ferry by Robert Stewart

Otter Ferry by Robert Stewart

Curator Peter Trowles on Czech TV

Glasgow School of Art’s Curator Peter Trowles was recently on Czech TV in a broadcast about Glasgow and Mackintosh. Jump to the 3:50 mark to see Peter get a few words in before the dubbing starts…!