The Glasgow Art Club
Foundation date: 1867
Active: 1867 -
Function: Art society
Policy: To advance the cause of Art by Exhibitions of works of art, life classes, the acquisition of books and papers on art, lectures on art subjects and to promote social intercourse among its members.
History or description: Glasgow Art Club, which has occupied its existing Bath Street premises since 1893, was founded in 1867 by William Dennistoun, a young amateur artist who had been forced by ill health to leave the city. His friends who used to sketch with him at his cottage in rural Old Kilpatrick and Dennistoun proposed that they should form an art club. He and 10 others, all amateur artists, held preliminary discussions in a tearoom above a Candleriggs baker's shop before launching the club in the Waverley Temperance Hotel in Buchanan Street.
At their monthly meetings each member would bring a painting, usually a watercolour, and the others would comment. At times there could be fiery disputes.
Membership grew in the 1870s, professional artists began to join, and exhibitions were held. Not surprisingly, the limitations of a temperance hotel began to be felt and in 1875 the club moved to a Sauchiehall Street hotel, also called Waverley, where something stronger than tea was to be had and annual dinners could be held in suitable style. A little later rooms were rented for six months at a time in the Royal Hotel, George Square. Life classes were held and occasional sketching classes.
It was time for the club to find a place of its own, and in 1878 it moved to 62 Bothwell Circus and despite the depression following the City of Glasgow Bank failure, enough money was raised from the sales of paintings to help pay for the rent and furnishings and to hire a housekeeper.
The continuing need for cash, however, helped to propel the club towards a critical move - the admission of lay members, which in any case was in tune with Glasgow's awakening interest in the arts. This proposal was strenuously resisted at first but by the mid-1880s the painter James Guthrie was among influential members arguing successfully for change and male lay members began to be admitted, although women had to wait until 1983.
To accommodate all the newcomers the club rented a new home at 151 Bath Street but this in turn was soon found to be cramped.
Two adjacent town houses were bought in Bath Street. John Keppie, the architect, was already a member of the club, and he was put in charge of the conversion of the two properties. He also created an adjoining gallery in the small back gardens. There is recent evidence that the young Charles Rennie Mackintosh had a hand in some of the gallery's ornamental details. The scene was thus set for countless dinners, dances, concerts, lectures and not least, exhibitions.
The new rooms were opened on June 14, 1893.
[http://glasgowartclub.co.uk/about/history/, site accessed 19/1/0]
Activities: art classes, classes in life drawing , exhibitions (members only), lectures, lectures on art, meetings, musical entertainments, musical evenings, professional advice, social events, social meetings
Composition: professional artists, lay members
Members included Neil Macphail
1886 - 23 January 1902
Macphail was admitted as an original lay member of Glasgow Art Club in 1886, and resigned on 23 January 1902.
Members included Archibald Macfarlane Shannan
Members included Benno Schotz
Presidents included Alexander Kellock Brown
Dates of presidency unconfirmed
Presidents included Alexander Proudfoot
1924 - 1926
Presidents included Alexander Proudfoot
1939 - 1941
Presidents included William Oliphant Hutchison
1941 - 1943
Professional members included George Henry Paulin
1915 (Circa) - 1960 (Circa)
The Year's Art 1890: A Concise Epitome of all Matters Relating to the Arts of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture which have occurred during the year 1889, together with information respecting the events of the year 1890
Citing this record
'The Glasgow Art Club', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011 [http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/organization.php?id=msib6_1231758399, accessed 01 Dec 2015]