Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sampling Art and Architecture in Glasgow

Kelvin Hall    GJC_016911

With so many beautiful places to see in Ayrshire, it may be a mystery to some as to why I went to Glasgow for the day on the train. Taking a break for a week in the UK to a lesser known tourist region can be interesting in the planning, but it could all fall apart with the British weather. Irvine wasn't the most obvious choice for accommodation but it was quite central for me with a 30 - 40 minute railway journey into Glasgow from the nearby railway station. As you can probably guess from this set, it didn't rain that week and this was just one of the more threatening cloudy days. Apologies to anyone reading this who remembered my overlapping 2010 post.

(Just spent a week in Oban where the weather was very mixed. I was hoping to get this post published last week but life and travel always seem to get in the way of this blog. I'm not taking any breaks from here but at the moment it seems that life events have taken over.)

Shopping Centre    GJC_016882_edited-1

Without research, the visitor to Glasgow can usually step off the train and find themselves on a shopping trip as I did on the first occasion. It's good to get bearings and find out where you are but Glasgow is so much more than that. I mentioned before the rivalry between Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland which in a sense additionally extends to visitors preferring one to the other. Edinburgh gets all the adulation as most sights are visible and in a certain area, but a lot of people I talk to, have either never been to Glasgow or haven't got past the first experience I had.

Gallery of Modern Art   GJC_016890_edited-1

One of the most accessible sights is The Gallery of Modern Art  that seems to grab peoples attention from the outside at least. I'm sitting thinking here that I've never been in the building so it would be unfair for me to comment further. This 18th century Neo classical structure was built in 1778 as a townhouse for a local Tobacco Lord and was sold to the Royal Bank of Scotland after only 40 years of use. The building was later modified with the additional external pillars and used as a business and trading exchange for 100 years. The idea of exchange continued with the conversion into a Library in 1954 and a Contemporary At Gallery in 1996.

Buchanan Street tram   GJC_016892_edited-1

It was time to take the Glasgow subway affectionately known as the Clockwork Orange (A circular tube line running in each direction within Orange trains) from Buchanan Street to Hillhead.

Mackintosh House  GJC_016897_edited-1

The designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald, who I have covered before, lived in Glasgow from 1906 - 1914. Unfortunately the building they lived in at the end of a terrace block was demolished in the 1960s to make way for extensions to Glasgow University. The Mackintosh House as we see it today was constructed 100 metres away as part of The Huntarian Art Gallery within the University campus. It is an exact representation including the height it was built at to reflect the light coming accurately to each of the sun facing rooms. The interior is decorated entirely with Mackintosh furniture and I was not allowed to photograph any of the rooms due a recent theft. I arrived on site and just missed the 12:30 tour and it looked like I was going to be the only person on the 13:00 tour. Thankfully a female University Lecturer joined me in her lunch break for her first ever visit to the building, it was my third time and she was surprised that I travelled from Ayrshire to see it ... She asked if I was a fan of his ! Mackintosh was a lover of innovative design and despite attempts to highlight that in the 1960's, I'm not sure what he would think about the concrete these days.

The Door   GJC_016902

Just in case you're wondering if I brought a ladder with me, that'll be a no as the entrance is accessed from a side door from the adjacent Art Gallery...

Huntarian museum   GJC_016901_edited-1

University   GJC_016908_edited-1

The University was founded in 1451 and is the fourth oldest in the UK, a wide variety of previous students have included John Logie Baird (the inventor of television) and Stephen Moffat (Writer and Producer of TV series Dr Who). I took a short cut through the grounds to my onward destination hoping to catch sight of the Undercroft Bute Hall.

Arch   GJC_016912

Not wanting to feel like an intruder, I'll take a different route next time.

Flowers   GJC_016909_edited-1

Profile   GJC_016922_edited-1

I didn't plan on visiting The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum as I had written some text about it to go with photos I posted back in 2010...

The main hall   GJC_016929_edited-1

However due to it's close proximity to the University and my next location, I thought it may be worthwhile paying it another visit.

Corridor GJC_016935

It's always good to try and improve on photographic material taken almost five years ago and with hindsight I was pleased I returned.

Windows GJC_016950_edited-1

Just to re-cap, the museum was opened in 1901 and in order to make it more user friendly and relevant, the council closed it for three years refurbishment in 2003 at a cost of £28 million pounds.

Through the arch  GJC_016938

Plane  GJC_016941

Museum hall  GJC_016944

Netball mural Commonwealth Games 2014  GJC_017031_edited-1

Lastly I jump (pardon the pun) towards the end of the day and a different kind of art on the end of a terrace block of houses.

Hockey mural Commonwealth Games 2014  GJC_017033_edited-1

I had to catch the subway from Partick and there were some celebratory murals commemorating the Glasgow Commonwealth games in 2014.

Rugby Mural Commonwealth Games 2014 GJC_017034_edited-1

And lastly a scene from the beginning of the day for those unappreciative of modern art. The Duke of Wellington statue stands outside the Gallery of Modern Art creating a little more interest to the novice in the street ...

Modern Art   GJC_016891_edited-1
Modern Art !!


  1. The entrance looks really starnge, I wonder how the owner used to get in? also by the backdoors?:) or maybe they had a ladder:)

    1. Thanks Ola but this is not the actual house. As I said it was an exact representation of the real one in an adjacent demolished street. Due to the nature of the hill slope in the area, it had to built in such a way to preserve the way the light entered the windows to enhance the room Mackintosh designed. One of his things is to use a contrast of light and darkness in each space he designed. The building is accessed from the a side door in the Art Gallery foyer next door.

  2. That Kelvingrove? Hall Art Gallery and Museum is a gorgeous building, inside and out. I'd want to tour that grand building even if there were nothing on display. I love that hallway photo. Is that you standing down at the end? ;-) As for the Mackintosh House, I'm not a big fan of concrete. Over there, you have enough old, beautiful buildings that an occasional building designed like that is fun and maybe even appealing. Here, during the 1960s many 'old' (old, by U.S. standards) buildings were being torn down and replaced with more Soviet style, utilitarian-looking buildings. We don't have the abundance of beautiful old architecture here to be able to afford losing it. Is your first photo of the University? Beautiful set of photos, J.

    1. Thanks Cranberry Morning, I quite agree I prefer the building to the exhibits and always like visiting it for that reason. The plane looks pretty special although I don't get how it's placed next to African Wildlife ! I was ages getting the flooring right on the hallway photo, in fact I do believe that this was one of the shots I sat on the floor. There was a local concrete designer who created radical buildings in his day. Gradually over the last few years these have been demolished as life expired or problematic mainly due to the vast scale of the buildings. Sorry I forgot to say, the first building is Kelvin Hall museum taken from the University flowers shot. The entrance is at the far side so I suppose it's not recognisable from the main external photo you see elsewhere here. I enjoyed editing this set of photos although it literally took forever straightening verticals on about 16 or 17 of them.

  3. There seems a lot of interesting things to visit in Glasgow. I really like the look of the Kelvin Hall museum and art gallery and the architecture of the university.

    1. Thanks CherryPie, Other than local cities, it must be one of my most visited cities possibly due to my family roots although I have never stayed overnight. A bit of research and a lot of local travel is paramount here to enjoy it fully. I never thought much of the Kelvin Hall in the past mainly due to the exhibits but as the building has been growing on me over the decades, so the curators are trying to put a bit more thought into the contents.

  4. You do a wonderful job with arches and windows--every time I photograph them I ask myself what J. would do. But did you know we Americans (especially those of us who ever lived in Idaho) think an Idaho man invented television? His name was Philo T. Farnesworth. I suspect TV was a little like manned flight... lots of people working on it at the same time.

    1. Thanks JoLynne Lyon, As I look through this post in the finalised form, I'm thinking that all of the images including the wall murals follow a few similar architectural themes. I try to be a person of variety but being self critical, I don't think I've achieved that. With regards to the images themselves, I was pleased that I managed to re - take certain 2010 shots to see where I was at photographically.

      I looked up both TV designers on the same website and found your comment to be true. I must confess I hadn't heard of Philo T Farnsworth before.


  5. Thanks for the tour of Glasgow. I haven't been there for years. You have shown us quite a few museums that I would love to see. It you ever get back to the Museum of Modern Art, please show us some of what's inside. Not sure about the concrete either, but it keeps us talking about history.

    1. Thanks Katharine, You've inspired me to look in the Museum of modern Art next time as it's probably the easiest attraction to attend in the city. Not sure when that will be as I've covered quite a bit of Glasgow on this blog. Thanks for the visit.

  6. J, what an interesting post full of inspiring buildings. I love those mural paintings, they look fantastic!

    When I visited Scotland many years ago with a travel agency, we were just passing through Glasgow which didn’t seem much interesting behind the bus’s windows but we had a stop in Edinburgh which looked quite impressive… At least to a tourist like me.

    It was good that you returned to the places you’d visited before. I absolutely agree that it is enriching to try and shoot the same places repeatedly in a few years. When I compare the photos I took in some places let’s say those 5 years ago and recently, I can see a lot of improvement and change of attitude.

    1. Thanks Petra, the effort in researching Glasgow beforehand is so much more rewarding than a day at the shops :-) I admit Edinburgh is a nice place that the visitor can see in about 3 days but Glasgow has so much more variety and interest taking longer to explore it all.

      On returning to a location, classic postcard scenes occasionally can't be improved upon but the light, atmosphere and mood can be. I was however pleased with the increased quality of the internal museum scenes that I tried to repeat.

  7. I have always wanted to go here and now you've made that desire even bigger!! So beautiful!! Maybe when we go to Belgium this September we can do a little excursion! ;)


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