Mackintosh plans first treasures to move into Kelvin Hall

Published: 19 September 2016

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s original plans for The Glasgow School of Art will be amongst the first items from The Hunterian to move to the new state of the art collections study facilities at Kelvin Hall.

The Glasgow School of Art restoration team will be the first users of The Hunterian's new Collections Study Centre when they come to study Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s original plans for The Glasgow School of Art today (September 19).

GSA Library 450The team is keen to study Mackintosh's original drawings for the GSA library, which was destroyed in a fire in 2014. Mackintosh’s original plans from The Hunterian collections will provide crucial detail for the complex restoration project.

The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow is home to the world’s largest single holding of the work of Scottish architect, artist and designer. The plans will be amongst the first items from The Hunterian to move to the new state of the art collections study facilities at Kelvin Hall.

A major component of The Hunterian’s Mackintosh collection is the collection of works on paper, which includes Mackintosh’s architectural, furniture and interior designs.

The Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building was built between 1897 and 1909 and is considered to be Mackintosh’s greatest architectural masterpiece. Page\Park were appointed as Design Team lead by The Glasgow School of Art which is working with a large number of contractors and organisations as it restores the world renowned building.

Mackintosh drawings

Director of The Hunterian, Professor David Gaimster, said: "Given the strength of our Mackintosh collection, we are delighted that colleagues from The Glasgow School of Art will be the first to use our unique new facilities at Kelvin Hall.

"The Hunterian Collections Study Centre will not only forge new academic practice and opportunity around our collections but will also mobilise object-based research, teaching and learning for the wider educational audience."

Over one million of the items from The Hunterian collections are currently being moved to bespoke storage and study facilities at Kelvin Hall - the newly refurbished Glasgow landmark building transformed by a partnership between the University of Glasgow, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and the National Library of Scotland.‌

GSA’s Senior Project Manager Liz Davidson said: “The GSA's restoration team is very excited at the prospect of consulting afresh Mackintosh’s original plans and other documents relating to the building. Our aim is to meticulously restore the Mack, and access to the original documentation held at the Hunterian will help increase our understanding and appreciation of Mackintosh’s ground-breaking design."

Dr Robyne Calvert. Mackintosh restoration research fellow added: "The research that has been undertaken by all the consultants in the Restoration Design Team has been meticulous. Although much Mackintosh’s architectural drawings are available online through the fantastic ‘Mackintosh Architecture: Context Meaning and Making’ project, not all are high enough resolution to make out fine annotations the architect made. Further, there are some drawings of furniture and fittings in the collection that the GSA must consult in order to ensure we are accurately reconstructing items that were lost to the fire."

As well as the new storage facilities, The Hunterian Collections Study Centre features research and teaching labs, a conservation studio, search and seminar rooms and a conference suite.

The Hunterian houses an unrivalled collection of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 – 1928), covering the full range of his output as architect, designer and artist. His achievements include his masterpiece the Glasgow School of Art, the villas Windyhill and The Hill House, Scotland Street School, and a series of city-centre tea room interiors.

Mackintosh was one of the most sophisticated exponents of the theory of the room as a work of art, and created distinctive furniture of great formal sophistication. He was also a gifted painter, producing exquisite flower paintings, and, late in life, striking landscapes of the South of France.

The new state of the art facilities at Kelvin Hall will allow the University of Glasgow to build on its international reputation for collection based research and teaching, offering much greater access to collections while forging new academic and educational practice.

At Kelvin Hall the University has created research and teaching labs and state of the art conservation studios alongside search and seminar rooms, dedicated postgraduate study space, a conference suite and library. Hunterian staff have new office space within the development. The Hunterian Museum, Hunterian Art Gallery, Mackintosh House and Zoology Museum remain open as usual on the main University of Glasgow campus.

Further information from Jane Chilton, communications office. Tel: 0141 330 3535 /

First published: 19 September 2016