Exhibition featuring items from GSA’s collection currently on at the Fleming Collection

An exhibition entitled Learning to Draw/Drawing to Learn is currently on in Gallery Two at The Fleming Collection in London. Focusing on the practice of drawing, past and present staff and students of Glasgow School of Art reflect on traditional and current drawing practice and its place in art and art education. The works, selected for this exhibition by Professor Roger Wilson, Head of the School of Fine Art, and Stuart Mackenzie, Senior Lecturer in Painting and Printmaking, demonstrate drawing’s capacity for the exploratory, experimental and observational.

NMC 055, life drawing by William Somerville Shanks, c1910

NMC 055, life drawing by William Somerville Shanks, c1910

In preparing for Learning to Draw/Drawing to Learn Wilson and Mackenzie were fortunate to have access to an extensive archive of past work, including many items from GSA’s Archives and Collections. Indeed several items from our collections feature in the exhibition. These include a stunning, highly finished, life drawing by GSA student and tutor William Somerville Shanks from c1910; several small sketches completed by GSA tutor Fred Selby during his travels in Italy and the Middle East in the 1940s (see here for our previous post about him); and a recently acquired sketchbook featuring landscapes by former GSA 2nd headmaster Robert Brydall from 1873 (again, see here for our previous post about this item).

NMC 085, Farm wagon, Lincolnshire, by Joan Eardley, 1948-1949

NMC 085, Farm wagon, Lincolnshire, by Joan Eardley, 1948-1949

There are also two works by Joan Eardley who was a student at the school in the 1940s; a male nude by James McIntosh Patrick who studied at GSA in the 1920s under the artist Maurice Greiffenhagen (the work on show actually bears his corrections); and some sketchbooks by William Gray dating from 1916-1918, as well as the evening school medal he won in 1914.

NMC 605, Male figure study by James McIntosh Patrick, featuring corrections by Maurice Greiffenhagen, c1927

NMC 605, Male figure study by James McIntosh Patrick, featuring corrections by Maurice Greiffenhagen, c1927

Recent GSA graduate Vanessa Larsen's work will feature alongside items from the Archives and Collections

Recent GSA graduate Vanessa Larsen’s work will feature alongside items from the Archives and Collections

As well as these items from GSA’s Archives and Collection, the curators were also able to borrow from a growing community of artists who are increasingly electing to stay and work in Glasgow. The exhibition coincides with the development of new academic programmes centred on drawing, confirming GSA’s engagement with this highly relevant medium. All of the works in Learning to Draw/Drawing to Learn use the language of drawing across divergent artistic practices.

The Fleming Collection is at 13 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DU (nearest tube: Green Park). The exhibition is on from 3rd September – 9th October. The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday 10.00am-5.30pm (last entry is at 5.00pm) and admission is free.

See The Fleming Collection’s website for details.

Advertisements

New acquisition: Robert Brydall sketchbook

Detail of a landscape from Robert Brydall's sketchbook, 1873

Detail of a landscape from Robert Brydall’s sketchbook, 1873

Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections has recently acquired a sketchbook by Robert Brydall, a student and tutor at the School in the mid-late 19th century. The sketchbook is dated 1873, and contains landscape sketches completed during travels around Scotland. This new acquisition is a very welcome addition to our holdings, which until now featured very few examples from this early period of the School’s history.

Robert Brydall's sketchbook, 1873. The unassuming cover belies the charming landscape sketches within

Robert Brydall’s sketchbook, 1873. The unassuming cover belies the charming landscape sketches within

Robert Brydall

Robert Brydall

Robert Brydall (10th May 1839-6th April 1907), was a Glasgow-born painter, who worked predominantly as a lithographer and engraver, and taught for many years at Glasgow School of Art, where his students included David Murray, John Lavery, James Paterson and E. A. Walton. In 1889 he published “History of Art in Scotland,” at that time the only book dealing with the subject. It was characterised by the London Quarterly Review as “one of the best and most interesting histories of art ever written.”

The Archives and Collections Centre holds records which show that Robert Brydall was a staff member at the School from 1863-1881, during this time he held the following positions: Pupil teacher, Glasgow Government School of Art – 1863; 3rd Master, Glasgow Government School of Art – 1863-1877; and 2nd Master, Glasgow Government School of Art – 1877-1881. There are also a few letters addressed to Robert Brydall in the late 1800s Secretary & Treasurer’s correspondence.

Brydall left GSA to set up a private art school, the St George’s Art School, in Newton Terrace in 1881. It is unclear when the School ceased operating, but it was still being run by him in 1896.

He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Glasgow Institute (1862-1907), and also showed work at the Royal Scottish Academy (1862-1887), as well as the Royal Academy (1906) and the RSW. The subjects of Brydall’s exhibited works included historical genres, landscape, and latterly views of Venice. He also showed a number of fairy subjects, including The Elf Dance (GI, 1871) and Fairy Treasure, (RSA, 1874) as well as works inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, such as Bottom, the Weaver (GI, 1871), Titania Enamoured (GI, 1876), and Oberon & Titania (GI, 1894).

Recent GSA graduate Vanessa Larsen's work will feature alongside items from the Archives and Collections

Recent GSA graduate Vanessa Larsen’s work will feature alongside items from the Archives and Collections

This very recent acquisition is actually to form part of a forthcoming exhibition at the Fleming Collection in London. Learning to Draw/Drawing to Learn: Glasgow School of Art, which runs from 3 September – 9 October 2013, is a reassessment of the practice of drawing by Glasgow School of Art students and staff, past and present, selected by Head of the School of Fine Art, Professor Roger Wilson and Stuart Mackenzie, Senior Lecturer in Painting and Printmaking. As well as the Robert Brydall sketchbook, the exhibition will also feature other works from our holdings, such as sketches by the architect Fred Selby, and an awe-inspiring life drawing by GSA student William Somerville Shanks from around 1910.

For more information check the Fleming Collection website.