New user case studies

We’ve just added some more user case studies to our website so you can find out about how various types of researchers have been using the Archives and Collections Centre.

DC077/11Carpet sample from our Stoddard Templeton collection, featuring tomato plant design

DC077/11 Carpet sample from our Stoddard Templeton collection, featuring tomato plant design

In these new case studies Helena Britt discusses her research for the recent Interwoven Connections: The Stoddard Templeton Design Studio and Design Library, 1843-2005 project which resulted in the exhibition currently on display in the Mackintosh Gallery; Jade Richardson, a Glasgow School of Art Product Design student tells us about how she used our resources in her research for a WW1 memorial project; and Annie Lavety, Retail Manager at GSA Enterprises, tells us how she used our collections to research and develop new products for GSA’s shop.

NMC 204, War scene with wounded soldiers, by Charles Davidson, 1914

NMC 204, War scene with wounded soldiers, by Charles Davidson, 1914

So visit the case studies section of our website, read about what other users have been up to, and get inspired!

Remember you can always contact us if you would like to use our archives and collections for your own research, be it family history, academic, educational, commercial or for creative practice.

RGI 152nd Annual Exhibition featuring Robert Stewart

rgi2013The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts’ 152nd Annual Exhibition opens this weekend, back in its traditional home at the magnificent McLellan Galleries. The RGI is investing £100,000 to undertake these works as part of the campaign for the regeneration of this prestigious building;  to promote its return to active service for Glasgow’s citizens and visitors, with a viable and sustainable future. The McLellan’s suite of Galleries allows for architectural models to be restored as a regular feature of the exhibition, alongside painting, drawing, sculpture and prints, and for the first time photography is being introduced into the Fine Art portfolio.

The RGI’s own 50-strong corps of artists will be well represented.  Additional invited artists include David Mach, Howard Hodgkin, Ken Howard, Sir Robin Philipson and Dr David Donaldson, with one of the Galleries being devoted to the diverse media artwork by the late distinguished Scottish designer, Robert Stewart.

Poster designed by Robert Stewart for the retirement dinner for Kath Whyte, Head of Embroidered Textiles at the School

Poster designed by Robert Stewart for the retirement dinner of Kath Whyte, Head of Embroidered Textiles at the School

Following on from September’s Robert Stewart retrospective at Dunoon Burgh Hall (see our previous post for more information), in which many items from our archives and collections were displayed, this section of the RGI exhibition has been curated by by Jimmy Cosgrove, former Depute Director of Glasgow School of Art. In contrast, this exhibition focuses more on the fine art aspects of Stewart’s work rather than on his commercial designs, and loans many items from GSA’s Archives and Collections, including Stewart’s magnificent tapestry Genesis; a section of his mural from Douglas Academy in Bearsden, several artworks, and many posters for GSA events and talks.

The RGI’s 152nd Annual Exhibition takes place at the McLellan Galleries, 270 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow and runs from Sunday 10 November until Sunday 8 December, and is open daily (except Monday) from 10 am until 6 pm; on Sunday from 12 til 6 and on Thursdays until 7.30 pm. Private view is tomorrow, 9th November from 2pm-6pm.

For more information see the RGI’s website.



Robert Stewart Exhibition, Dunoon

Bob Stewart dunoon flyerRobert Stewart

Cowal Open Studios Guest Artist 2013

Dunoon Burgh Hall, 13 – 30 September, Preview 12 September 6-7.30pm

Cowal Open Studios and Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust present this exhibition of works by Robert Stewart, one of the design pioneers of the 20th Century.  Robert Stewart lived in Cowal from 1961 where he and Sheila raised their familyand where his widow Sheila still lives.  Their sons Alan and Billy run Stewarts Garage in Dunoon.

A number of items from Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections will be on display, including some of his posters, ceramic panels and his breathtaking tapestry Genesis.

The exhibition, a partnership project between Cowal Open Studios and Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust with funding from Creative Scotland and Argyll and Bute Third Sector Fund, will be opened by Jimmy Cosgrove, former Depute Director of Glasgow School of Art and former director with House for an Art Lover.

Detail from NMC 744, ceramic panel by Robert Stewart, 1966

Detail from NMC 744, ceramic panel by Robert Stewart, 1966

The exhibition has been curated by Artist and Designer Anne E Ferguson and celebrates the work of Robert Stewart and his contemporaries. Work created by pupils from local schools across Cowal inspired by the work and philosophy of Robert Stewart will also be displayed. There will also be a Family drop-in workshops with Hannah Clinch on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th 12-3pm (bring light-coloured clothes, t-shirts/pillow slips – to print on!)

There will be a talk by Liz Arthur, author of ‘Robert Stewart, Design 1946-95’ on Saturday 21 September at 1pm. The Robert Stewart Exhibition will be shown as part of the Cowal Open Studios event from Friday 27thto Monday 30th

The exhibition is on at Dunoon Burgh Hall from 13th-30th September, open Thursday-Sunday from 12-3pm, with a preview on 12th September from 6-7.30pm. For more information visit the Cowal Open Studios website or Dunoon Burgh Hall website.

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!

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

Sew Last Century!

P1040629The Studio, a designing, making and textiles club for 10-18 year olds in Glasgow, has teamed up with the GSA Archives and Collections for an exciting 15th month project called ‘Sew Last Century!’. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Young Roots programme, the project will enable 60 young people from Glasgow to explore the Textiles heritage of their city, learn some heritage skills, and create their own designs based on the treasures they find in the GSA archive.

P1040790The project began this month with a behind the scenes tour of the archive and a chance to view and sketch from the work of 1950s textiles graduate Sylvia Chalmers.

P1040892The ‘Studioettes’ loved seeing Sylvia’s work – from student sketchbooks, painted designs and fabric samples, to professional screen printed cloth – and filled their own sketchbooks with ideas to take back to The Studio HQ in Partick. Since then, the ‘Studioettes’ have been hard at work turning their research into costumes for Glasgow’s West End Festival Parade.

P1040821The Studio is run by two former GSA Textiles students Lynsey Wells and Jen Olley and is supported by the charitable company In The Making Glasgow.  For more information contact


International GSA: Fred Selby

Portrait of Fred Selby, by unknown artist (possibly M Selby), 1943

Self Portrait by Fred Selby, 1943

Fred Selby: a very English name for a German-Jewish refugee. Indeed, Selby was born in Germany as Manfred Salinger. He studied architecture at the Technical College of Berlin in the 1920s under Modernists such as Walter Gropius and Erich Mendelsohn (despite having Albert Speer, “Hitler’s architect”, as a classmate. Selby even apparently wrote to Speer upon his release from Spandau prison after the war to wish him well!)

Selby practised as an architect in Berlin before escaping to Prague during the Nazi regime. He was was unable to work as an architect there as only Czechs were allowed to do so, but found work as a neon sign maker and developed his life-long love for Czech architecture. He was later to find himself on the streets of Prague again during the Summer of 1968 as the Czech people attempted (unsuccessfully) to overthrow the Soviet Union-backed regime (He brought back several dramatic pictures of the uprising, now stored in the archives at Strathclyde University). When the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, after several failed attempts to travel to the Soviet Union, Salinger finally found himself in England, and picked up his new name somewhere along the way.

Cairo street scene, by Fred Selby, 1940s

Cairo street scene, by Fred Selby, 1940s

Selby was initially interned at a refugee camp when he first came to Britain, finding himself alongside fellow future GSA staff member Paul Zunterstein, who went on to study and work under Benno Schotz in the 1950s. After serving in the British Army in Palestine and Egypt, Selby moved to Glasgow, was admitted as an Associate to RIBA (the Royal British Institute of Architects) in 1948 ,and began teaching and practising as an architect once more. He became a lecturer at The Mackintosh School of Architecture and continued to teach architectural history part-time at GSA after his retiral in 1972.

Alexander Thomson Memorial, Memorial and precinct; plan, views south and west, by Fred Selby, 1975

Alexander Thomson Memorial, Memorial and precinct; plan, views south and west, by Fred Selby, 1975

Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections holds a large quantity of Selby’s work, including many sketches from his travels in Italy and the Middle East; and designs for the Herzl Memorial and the Alexander “Greek” Thomson Memorial competitions. The Self Portrait in our collection (above), initialed “MS” and previously attributed to an unknown artist, has just recently been identified as Selby’s own work by a family member.

The Herzl Memorial Competition, contour plans, by Fred Selby

The Herzl Memorial Competition, contour plans, by Fred Selby

Selby’s specialist subject was Modern Architectural Theory, and as a former student of Gropius and Mendelsohn in Berlin, Selby was described by Professor Frank Walker, his student turned colleague, as “a living link to Modernism”, someone who had experienced the progression of Modern European architecture at close quarters, and who through his teaching and practice brought first-hand knowledge of the places and people students at GSA were studying and aspiring to.

Celia Birtwell reworks archive prints for Uniqlo collection

celia birtwell  for UniqloTextile designer Celia Birtwell famed for her collaborative work with Ossie Clark  and whose iconic printed designs epitomise the 1960s and 1970s has reworked designs from her archive for a new collection for Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo.

Birtwell for UniqloCelia’s designs have been reworked, resized, re-coloured and re-imagined. While some of her most famous designs, including Candy Flower and Mystic Daisy, feature in the collection, Celia has also reworked and updated some of her designs especially for Uniqlo. For example, she has amended some of her home furnishing fabrics for the purposes of fashion – her Beasties print, depicting mythological creatures inspired by a 17th century embroidery she found in the basement of the V&A, has been digitally resized to accommodate its change in purpose.

The collection will be launched on March 21st. Visit Uniqlo’s website for more details.

celia birtwell


Celebrating International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day we thought we’d highlight the efforts of GSA alumnus and tutor Ann Macbeth (1875-1948).

Ann MacBeth and fellow student, Drawing and Painting class, c1912

Ann MacBeth (left) and fellow student, Drawing and Painting class, c1912

MacBeth was a renowned designer and embroiderer who was also heavily involved in the suffragette movement. Her commitment to women’s rights was expressed through her embroidery as well as in direct action. While her designs won international medals (she designed a banner for the 1909 Edinburgh women’s suffrage procession and demonstration, and a linen quilt with the embroidered names of hunger strikers for an exhibition in April 1910),  she also endured imprisonment, solitary confinement and forcible feedings in the name of the cause.

Suffragette banner 'WSPU Holloway Prisoners',  1910. It includes the embroidered signatures of 80 suffragette hunger-strikers who had 'faced death without flinching'. Made in the style of a traditional friendship quilt it symbolises the spirit of comradeship that gave suffragette prisoners the strength and courage to endure hunger strike and force feeding.

Suffragette banner ‘WSPU Holloway Prisoners’, 1910. Includes the embroidered signatures of 80 suffragette hunger-strikers. Image courtesy of Museum of London. 

MacBeth’s colleagues at GSA supported her protests.  Correspondence in the archives reveals that in May 1912 she wrote to the Secretary of the School thanking him for his ‘kind letter’.

I am still very much less vigorous than I anticipated…  after a fortnight’s solitary imprisonment with forcible feedings … but the doctor thinks this will improve when I get away.

She did not recuperate as quickly as expected. By June, her doctor told her that she needed at least five months’ care as a ’semi-invalid’. She may also have taken part in the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) window-smashing raid in London in 1912, but she is not mentioned in any sources.

Glasgow School of Art was a hive of activity for the suffrage cause, and between classes, students, including Ann Macbeth, took turns at stitching suffrage banners. MacBeth’s predecessor, Jessie Newbery (wife of Director Francis Newbery), was another active WSPU member.

Francis Newbery and Ann Macbeth in painting studio using easels, c1912

Francis Newbery and Ann Macbeth in painting studio using easels, c1912