Glasgow Library Tweetups: The Turn of the Art School

We’re excited about hosting the 10th Glasgow Library Tweetup (#GLTU) tomorrow in the Archives & Collections Centre.

Glasgow Library Tweetups are an opportunity for information professionals from all over Glasgow to meet up and visit a particular library or information service and then socialise after the event. Founder, Anabel Marsh, was a Librarian at Strathclyde University for many years and is very interested in the use of social media in libraries. Anabel can be followed on Twitter @AnabelMarsh and the link to the GLTU blog is here.

Follow @GSALibrary for imminent tweets about tomorrow’s event!

Reblogged from GSA Library’s news blog

New posts on Glasgow Miracle project blog

Not one, not two, but three new posts by project volunteers on the Glasgow Miracle project blog for you.


Visit the blog to read the articles:

Social Culture and Special Unit Sculpture

The 1990 TSWA Four Cities Project in Glasgow and the proposals that never materialised 

The National Archives of Scotland

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.

Mitchell Library access to online music archive: Rock’s Backpages

Members of Glasgow’s Mitchell Library have just been given digital access to an extensive online music archive. Rock’s Backpages contains over 20,000 classic articles on many musical artists across all music genres by some of the most prolific music-journalists of the last 50 years.

A library of over 300 audio interviews, including conversations with Leonard Cohen, Little Richard and Johnny Cash is the best resource available through the site which also boasts a limited selection of transcribed reports, interviews and music reviews. The magazine archive promises to yield some interesting information on the designers and photographers behind the cover art featured on the likes of New Musical Express, Sounds and Rolling Stone although note charges apply.Access this online resource in all Glasgow Libraries and from home, or the Art School by entering your Glasgow Libraries card number at “Login via your library”. It’s possible to join Glasgow Libraries free of charge. For immediate access to all resources click here.
Visit the Rock’s Backpages website for more information.
Reblogged from the wonderful GSA Library Art and Design Resources blog.

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.

Visit to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s archives

Last week our Archivist Susannah enjoyed a behind-the-scenes visit to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s archives.

The RCS was originally founded as the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1847, teaching a variety of subjects, including art classes, to students in Glasgow.  Their holdings are in many ways similar to our own, containing minute books, prospectuses, student records and photographs which reveal the organisation’s history. We particularly like these images of the RCS’s original building on Buchanan St.

Old Athenaeum Building

Old Athenaeum Building

Old Athenaeum Theatre in Glasgow Athenaeum Building

Old Athenaeum Theatre in Glasgow Athenaeum Building

Old Glasgow Athenaeum Library 1960s

Old Glasgow Athenaeum Library, 1960s

The RCS also collect material relating to former students and staff, and to the performing arts. The archives of Scottish entertainer Jimmy Logan and a collection of historical brass instruments are just two examples of their varied holdings!

To find out more, visit their website.

New Glasgow Miracle blog post

Volunteer archive researcher Cedric Tai shares more of his thoughts about his work on the Glasgow Miracle project… Visit the Glasgow Miracle blog to read about the ways in which the Third Eye Centre archive illustrates how the centre saw itself as a source of education and a place to consider social and contemporary issues but all the while had to balance this with accessibility.

This is an image of a publication between Acme, SPACE and the Arts Council of Great Britain, The image is courtesy of the Third Eye Centre/CCA

This is an image of a publication between Acme, SPACE and the Arts Council of Great Britain, The image is courtesy of the Third Eye Centre/CCA

‘Reely’ good fun – BFI Mediatheque to open in Bridgeton, Glasgow

BFIThe British Film Institute (BFI) have announced that Scotland’s first BFI Mediatheque will open on 22nd February at Glasgow’s Bridgeton Library. The Mediatheque is a space in which members of the public can log onto a viewing station to access highlights from the BFI National Archive. Over 2,500 complete films and television programmes drawn from the BFI National Archive and partner collections will be accessible to anyone, and for free!

The BFI Mediatheque in Glasgow is remarkable in that it will showcase a specially commissioned collection of Scottish film and television, entitled ‘Scottish Reels.’ The collection is drawn from the BFI National Archive and Scottish Screen Archive, and encapsulates more than a century of Scottish life and culture. Some of the offerings include early colour footage of tartans from 1906, a political strain of television dramas, as well as some of the big screen classics, from Whiskey Galore! (1949) through to Gregory’s Girl (1980) and Red Road (2006). New titles will be added regularly.

The Mediatheque is a permanent addition to the city and the resources available at Bridgeton Library’s newly redeveloped Olympia building. Use it as a time capsule for exploring British film heritage from the advent of the moving screen image to the present day. For more information visit the website.

This story came to us from GSA’s Learning Resources blog which has lots of information about library and special collection related news.

Donald Melvin: GSA student material

This week we’ve been cataloguing and repackaging a collection of works by Donald Melvin completed during his time as a student at Glasgow School of Art in the 1960s. The collection includes works carried out as part of classes such as, for example, Interior Design, the History of Furniture, Environmental Study and Woodcarving.

Environmental Study, Hilstons The Chemists Lanark, c1965-66

Environmental Study, Hilstons The Chemists Lanark, chalk on paper, c1965-66

The collection also includes sketches carried out during GSA summer schools abroad in Florence and in Norway, and some sketches of the area around the Glasgow School of Art campus in Garnethill.

Sketch of Florence, GSA Summer School, c1967-68

Sketch of Florence, GSA Summer School, c1967-68

View from Top Floor Studios, c1960s

View from Top Floor Studios, c1960s

The sketches for interiors are overtly typical of their time and feature iconic furniture such as chairs designed by Charles Eames and chaise lounges by Mies van der Rohe. It’s great for us to have this material as Interior Design was, until now, rather under-represented in our collections.

Flat for Henry Hellier, Interior Design Dept. GSA, 1967

Flat for Henry Hellier, Interior Design Dept. GSA, 1967

The catalogue will be available to view on the Archives Hub soon.

The Glasgow Miracle: Materials for Alternative Histories

Opening of the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow

Opening of the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow
May 1975


The Glasgow School of Art in partnership with the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow has been awarded a grant by the AHRC for a speculative research project. The Glasgow Miracle project aims to open up previously inaccessible archive material to assist research and reflection upon the causes and conditions which encouraged the renaissance of the visual arts in Glasgow since the late 1970s. Its activities can be followed via its blog at: