Glasgow School (1870-1910)

The Glasgow School of Art was one of the United Kingdom’s institutions for the study of fine art, which produced many important artists: The Four, the Glasgow Girls, and the Glasgow Boys.

Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh: A photo of a light stone building with black windows.
Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/ca63ee82-e08f-4aff-9ce2-91128116e5ca by John a s

The Four

The group known as “The Four,” including Charles Rennie Mackintosh, James Herbert MacNair, and the sisters, Margaret Macdonald and Frances Macdonald, played a key role in the definition of this style. The artists got acquainted as young students of the Glasgow School of Art. Mackintosh and MacNair started as apprentice architects for Honeyman and Keppie and studied at Glasgow School of Art, and they built up a creative alliance to produce disruptive and controversial designs.

Siège de C.R. Mackintosh (The Lighthouse, Glasgow): Photo of a black chair with squares cut out of the back and a brown weaved seat.
(The Lighthouse, Glasgow) by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/c9e28c28-92ae-48f8-b781-9665432c445e by dalbera

Dark wood chair with a very tall seat, and a black cushion.
Glasgow School of Art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/b0c9d327-2a12-4700-8884-05342cd4c299 by foundin_a_attic

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish designer, famous in Great Britain. His most relevant projects were the Glasgow School of Art, considered the first example of Art Nouveau architecture in Great Britain, along with other projects: “Haus eines Kunstfreundes,” the Willow Tearooms, and Scotland Street School.

Willow Tea Rooms photo of the storefront.
Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow (1904).

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/185943b7-87be-4309-b281-2829f9ee539d by stevecadman

Willow Tearooms, Glasgow inside furniture with white chairs and tables with white table cloths.
Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/d5895f1a-5a58-4731-a647-26e6f67071d3 by marsroverdriver

Charles-Rennie-Mackintosh photo in black and white. He is wearing a tie tied in a bow, a light colored jacket and has a dark curly mustache.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh, portrait.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Rennie_Mackintosh#/media/File:Charles-Rennie-Mackintosh.jpg

Margaret and Frances MacDonald were good at the use of several media such as watercolor, metalwork, embroidery, and textiles. Frances, Margaret’s sister, started an ambitious venture by opening the MacDonald Sisters Studio in the 1890s. Their inspiration came from Celtic symbols and folklore, and through Frances MacDonald’s painting she showcased her understanding of the landscape.

Margeret MacDonald, portrait in black and white.
Margeret MacDonald, portrait.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Macdonald_Mackintosh#/media/File:Margaret_MacDonald_Macintosh.jpg

Frances MacDonald, full body portrait in black and white.
Frances MacDonald, portrait.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_MacDonald

James Herbert MacNair was a talented designer, and he contributed to the early 1890s to develop Mackintosh’s creative imagination. His paintings and furnishings designs were among some of the most innovative of the Glasgow Style of the 1890s.

Photo of two folding chairs with brown leather backs, and dark wood structures.
James Herbert Macnair Folding chair, 1890.

Image source: https://www.huntersoflondon.com/listing/897410453/a-pair-of-reclining-campaign-or-cruise

Portrait of James Herbert Macanair in black and white.
James Herbert Macanair, portrait.

Image source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_MacNair#/media/File:James_Herbert_McNair.jpg

The Glasgow Girls and Boys

Glasgow Girls is the name for a group of female artists, that included Margaret and Frances MacDonald, Jessie M. King, Bessie MacNicol, Norah Neilson Gray, and many others. The name “Glasgow Girls” emerged much later than the time they were active. Additionally, in the 1960s attention was given to the art of the city’s women creating a balance to the plentiful discussion of the Glasgow Boys.

The Glasgow Boys had a passion for realism and naturalism. They are the starting point for modernism in Scottish painting. They were powerfully influenced by the realism of Dutch and French art, especially the Naturalist paintings of Jules Bastien-Lepage, and the painter James McNeill Whistler obsessed with tonal harmony. Their pieces usually dealt with rural, prosaic themes from Glasgow life in general and tried to depict aspects of the character of Scotland.

File:Wapping on Thames by James McNeill Whistler, 1860-1864, oil on canvas - National Gallery of Art, Washington - DSC00089.JPG
Wapping on Thames by James McNeill Whistler (1860-1864)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/03ce1a87-0dae-47cd-a4b9-5108db536b39 by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

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