To celebrate the centenary of the Mackintosh Building, The Glasgow School of Art
is displaying previously unseen works of art from their archives and other international collections in The Flower and the Green Leaf from 27th November 2009 23rd January 2010, an exhibition showing the work and social life of its staff and students during the early years of the twentieth century.
On display will be work from each of the four departments of the time: Painting and Drawing; Modelling and Sculpture; Design and Decorative Art; Architecture. Included will be a set of drawings for the Mackintosh Building by Charles Rennie Mackintosh dated 1910; a green linen bag designed by Grace Wilson Melvin (1892-1977), embroidered in green white and violet, the colours of the suffragette movement; photographs of staff and students in the early 20th century; life drawings by students of the time and the inaugural Bram Stoker Medal awarded for most imaginative work of the year, dated 1903.
This exhibition explores the following two decades from Charles Rennie Mackintoshs completion of the first half of the celebrated building in 1899, as the School built on its achievements and became even more truly international in its scope. It was unique in Britain in its ability to attract artists from overseas as well as some of the most highly regarded British practitioners onto its staff: men such as Jean Delville, the leading Belgian Symbolist painter, Maurice Greiffenhagen, a noted English portraitist, illustrator and decorative artist, W. E. F. Britten, who worked on the interior of St Pauls Cathedral in London; Robert Anning Bell, a master craftsman with mosaics in Westminster Cathedral to his credit; the Dutch sculptor Johan Keller; and the Frenchman Eugène Bourdon who ran one of the first Beaux-Arts architectural courses in Britain.
The four departments of the time were noted for their exceptional achievements in producing artists of world renown: Drawing and Painting produced several leading artists of the inter-war years including James Cowie, William McCance, Archibald McGlashan, Agnes Miller Parker and Robert Sivell; Modelling and Sculptures staff and students, Albert Hodge, Thomas Clapperton, Archibald Dawson and many others, were responsible for much of the work on Glasgows public and commercial buildings, such as the Clyde Port Authority, the Mitchell Library and Mercat Building; Design and Decorative Art was where the Glasgow Style in the hands of such designers as Jessie M. King, Jessie Newbery and Ann Macbeth held its own alongside new experimental approaches introduced by the French head of Department Adolphe Giraldon and his successor Anning Bell; and Architecture had its modern continental curriculum. At the same time the School pioneered a highly successful programme of teacher education which influenced art teaching in Scotland over the next thirty years.