Tag Archives: Glasgow

Deanston House, The Seat of James Smith Esquire

Edward W. Trendall. Original Designs for Cottages and Villas in the Grecian, Gothic and Italian Styles of Architecture. London: Published by the Author, to be had by J. Carpenter & Son, 1831.

Edward Trendall published a series of original plans, elevations, and details as a pattern book in 1831. In his address to his reading public, he notes that “excellent works exist on the subject of Cottage and Village Architecture, yet one of more detailed and simple nature still appeared to be wanted…” Thus, he hoped to fill this niche. In addition to the designs, Trendall also calculated the cost of each house, assuming that the highest quality of materials were employed. Prices ranged from 350-3000 pounds; a cottage in the Greek style at the low end, while an Italian villa at the high.

While Trendall’s pattern book is straight forward, the edition held by Special Collections of the Architecture and Planning Library contains a bit of a mystery. The book was added to the collection in 1991, possibly as part of the Weinreb Architectural Collection. Bits of the book’s history have been collected between its unassuming covers that cause both delight and speculation regarding its journey.

On the inside cover, the book contains two book plates. The original is apparent beneath the second though unreadable. The second plate indicates that the pattern book was once housed by the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow. On the free endpaper, a note has been pasted, which references three titles, including this one, and a series of dates. A bookseller has penciled the asking price in the corner of this page as well. On the title page, John Fisher has inscribed his name. A search in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography did not prove fruitful for Mr. Fisher; nor did searching for an architect of this name in Scotland during the nineteenth century. Plates 20 and 28 were altered. An unknown hand sketched slightly different profiles for two of the roofs on Plate 20, while also labeling the six examples of exterior cornices on Plate 28. On the inside of the back cover, a plan of the first floor of a house has been sketched. The plan was labeled as the Deanston House, the Seat of James Smith Esquire 1831, though the date has been corrected. Beneath the label, a second name was placed: Muir. Esquire 1887. Searching for “James Smith of Deanston” in DNB proved more useful. According to Hugh Cheape, James Smith (1789–1850), a graduate from the University of Glasgow, was a “textile industrialist and agricultural engineer”. He made significant contributions to the Industrial Revolution and agriculture. Smith left Deanstson permanently in 1842 for London. It seems plausible that Smith would have commissioned a house in Deanton, though I could not readily identify one.

Hugh Cheape, ‘Smith, James, of Deanston (1789–1850)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/25822, accessed 3 July 2014].

First Planning Report, Glasgow

Robert Bruce. The First Planning Report to Highways and the Planning Committee of the Corporation of the City of Glasgow. 2 vols. Glasgow, 1945.

Robert Bruce in his planning report identifies the roadways as the most important issue to address in the redevelopment of Glasgow.  He establishes a 50 year plan to be achieved in three stages. At the time of the report, the Glaswegian roads functioned as all-purpose to include pedestrian, local, and through traffic; this lack of specification was the crux of the problem. According to Bruce: In such a wide range of road users it is clear that the interest of each is inimical to the interests of the others and that this conflict is at the root of the whole trouble causing injury, inconvenience, delay, nerve strain, and, to an appalling extent, death. (pg.14). Bruce argues that the inconveniences, stresses, and injuries will be mitigated through the reclassification of roads as arterial, sub-arterial, and local, through the construction of new roads, and through the alignment of all transportation services whether public or private and whether road, rail, sea, or air. He further suggests that planning needs to occur at a regional, not a local level.

Bruce faces two critical challenges in his redevelopment and reclassification of the roadways in Glasgow: financial and public opinion. He suggests that they will have to alter the belief of business owners that it is better to be on a major thoroughfare rather than a quiet, local road. He writes:

One of the greatest difficulties in connection with planning proposals will be to rid from the minds of the general public the idea that shops, theatres, picture houses, restaurants, etc., should all be facing main roads. What modern town planing sets out to do so it dissociates all such places from roads carrying through traffic and site them in quiet roads free from through traffic and which my be used in safety and in comfort by pedestrians. (pg. 23)

While Bruce’s major focus is transportation through and around Glasgow, he does address issues of housing, green spaces, and public amenities. He concludes his report with a discussion of conurbation and creation of satellite towns.

The Glasgow School

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Glasgow: Haus eines Kunstfreundes. Preface by Hermann Muthesius. Darmstadt: Alex Koch, [ca. 1902].

Some of my fondest memories of Scotland are my  MackintoshMacdonald days.  Whenever I am overseas on my research trips, I always set aside one day to visit their works and take high tea in The Willow Tea Rooms. I first discovered The Glasgow School as a graduate student living in Glasgow.  I wandered into The Hunterian Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow and was enchanted by The Mackintosh House. I was struck by the use of line, curve, light, and color. I loved the details of the rose, repetitive tiny squares, & distinctive lettering. The ephemeral figures were haunting. No space was left undesigned and everything felt designed for that space. A gesamtkunstwerk. Whenever I am asked what is a must see on a trip to Scotland, The Mackintosh House, The Glasgow School of Art, and The Willow Tea Rooms are always on the top of my recommendation list.

I was thus delighted today to come across by chance Mackintosh’s entry for the Haus eines Kunstfreundes competition of 1901 (though the 1991 reprint issued by The Fraser Press, Glasgow). It was a treat to study the drawings made by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh.

If it be folly to try and interpret art, by the inexpressive medium of words, this must be especially the case with an art of such elusive qualities as that of the young Scottish designers. It has been laughed at and ridiculed by many who could discover no sense in it; but when one considers that this is the normal reception which the world accords to all new and import an art movements, the circumstances may be regarded rather as a tribute to their power than the reverse. The comprehension of their style cannot be communicated by the medium of words….And thus it is that we find suddenly in this Glasgow school something like an excess of individuality, and almost oppressively rigid style.  Hermann Muthesius, “Mackintosh’s Art Principles,” 1902.