Visit to a newly created furniture gallery in the Reid Building will form part of the GSA’s Mackintosh Tours from Sunday 1 February 2015
The Glasgow School of Art is to put some of its Mackintosh furniture back on display it was announced today, Tuesday 27 January 2015. The pieces, which were previously on show in the Mackintosh Room and furniture gallery in the east wing of in the Mackintosh Building, were saved from the building by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and have been in storage for the last seven months.
Now 20 pieces, including chairs, a linen press, a bookcase, a master and slave clock and two rarely seen panels by Margaret Macdonald, will go on display in a new furniture gallery created in the Reid Building. The public will be able to visit this new furniture gallery as part of an organised tour led by one of the GSA’s expert student guides from this coming Sunday, 1 February 2015.
“The Mackintosh Room and furniture gallery were always highlights of the GSA Mackintosh Building tours,” explains Juliet Fellows-Smith, Tours Co-ordinator for The Glasgow School of Art. “Although it has not been possible to visit the building since last May we have still been able to offer special Mackintosh tours and are delighted that from this weekend we will also include a visit to this new furniture gallery.”
Among the works on show in the new gallery are the master and one of the slave clocks from the innovative system which was installed in the Mackintosh Building in 1910.
“It is widely recognised that Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s design for The Glasgow School of Art was unique and innovative; not only the physical building but the fixtures, fittings and furniture as well,” says Peter Trowles, GSA Mackintosh Curator.
“In 1910 Mackintosh provided designs for a series of simple, wooden, wall-mounted clocks to be used in the studios and in the more public areas of the building. This was to be one of his last ever designs for the School. Significantly, the wall ‘slave’ clocks were electrically run from a central ‘master’ clock which relied upon the very latest technology of the day: a pulse-operated or ‘synchronome’ mechanism manufactured by the important Glasgow firm of Dykes Brothers.”
Regrettably, a number of the slave clocks were lost in the in the fire last May, but the majority were saved including examples in both the east and west wings of the building. Specialist horologist Nick Sanders will re-connect the master with one of the slaves so that visitors can see how the system, which was ground-breaking in its time, worked.
“What's special about the system is that before its installation all the clocks had to be wound up and adjusted every week,” adds Peter Trowles. “As every clock would have to be wound by hand, some by key, they could have been as much as ten minutes out. With this state of the art system all the clocks moved together meaning that they were all accurate.”
Visitors will be also able to see two embroidered panels by Mackintosh’s wife, Margaret Macdonald, which are rarely exhibited. The last time they were on public display was when they were loaned out for the Klimt exhibition in Japan in 2012
“Margaret Macdonald’s Heart of the Rose gesso panel was a very popular piece in the original furniture gallery,” explains Fellows-Smith. “However, as this piece needed some conservation work which was unrelated to the impact of the fire we decided to include others of her works in the new gallery whilst this work was being undertaken. Macdonald was an important Glasgow Style designer in her own right as well as working in partnership with Mackintosh.”
For full details of the pieces that will be on show in the new furniture gallery see Notes for Editors.
A visit to the furniture gallery will be included in the GSA’s Mackintosh tours from 1 February 2015. The tours, priced £9.75 (with a range of concessions) are led by expert student guides and take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm in February with 10am and 4pm tours added in March. Tours depart half hourly over the summer. For further information and to book a tour visit: www.gsa.ac.uk/visit-gsa/mackintosh-at-the-gsa-tour/timetables-tickets
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