8 - Maryhill Burgh Halls, Glasgow
AddressMaryhill Burgh Halls, 24 Gairbraid Ave, Wyndford, Glasgow G20 8YE
Comments byDouglas Hogg
This entry is part 8 of a 10 part essay by Douglas Hogg with the title “The Lion in the North – a 20th century lineage – A personally immersive account of the development and influence of a progression in the use of glass painting in Scotland as an expressive form, with particular reference to this as a unique and identifiable east coast phenomenon.” The full essay can be read in the themes section, where there are also links to each of the locations that are discussed.
HighlightContemporary windows in the Main Hall
Artist, maker and dateAlec Galloway, 2011
Reason for highlighting
At the Maryhill Burgh Halls in Glasgow the work of Alex Galloway, ex-ECA, is placed in the refurbished Halls opposite some of the originally commissioned panels of the late 1800s. The new set of ten themed window panels depict the Heavy Trades, Social Heritage, Education, Workers, Space-Age, Youth Culture, Sport and Leisure, Regeneration and Diversity. Both the themes and resultant works came from “close community involvement….directly from the people, the imagery itself….” Alec’s work here is very hands-on and demonstrative, using photo-screen, hot melt and other on-glass techniques. These are the very techniques being exploited in much contemporary work around the country today, released from the constraints of a religious setting and expectation. Alec Galloway represents the last tutor on the Stained and Architectural Glass Course which ran unbroken for 100 years, a full century.
The panels opposite originate from the Halls’ initial opening at the end of the 19th century and are the work of Stephen Adam a Glasgow-based ﬁrm. They reﬂect graphically precise and accurate, if soulless, pieces of work, the best of which are reminiscent of the French painter Poussin in ﬁne detail and stillness of atmosphere. Trained as a glass painter at the Edinburgh ﬁrm of Ballantine in the late 1800’s, his style was inﬂuential on the west coast.
A severe drop in church commissioning must now leave the door open, not closed, to new work and fresh horizons for the bright minded ﬂexible artists of today. To a very large extent this opportunity has not been taken up and explored. Context it seems, rather than the further opportunities that this that this beautiful material has yet to aﬀord us, is sadly entrenched to its severe detriment within a certain type of past, now long played out. Because of clinging to this past, new design is mainly weak: playing to a traditionally expectant gallery is not exactly the approach of serious innovators who constantly struggle to break the mould. John Lawrie (student, hot glass teacher and muralist at ECA) produced a large glass and concrete wall for the chapel at Loretto School near Edinburgh. Other currently active ex-ECA glass artists include Leifur Breidfjörd (St Giles’, Edinburgh), Derek Hunt (his YouTube channel excellent), Kirsty Brooks (interviewed on same), Kate Henderson (Patrick Geddes window at the Edinburgh City Council oﬃces), Emma Butler-Cole Aiken (Glasgow Cathedral), Vivienne Haig (St Patrick’s in Soho Square, London, 2021 – possibly the largest set of windows recently installed in the UK) are just some. Many had elected to study drawing and painting as a supporting vehicle as I myself had done. In the ’80’s and ’90’s the older established stained glass department joined with the hot glass course where new techniques extended the possibilities even further giving a boost and ﬂexibility to the use of glass in architecture. Patrick Reyntiens had come up to Edinburgh having been awarded a post-graduate year in the school of Drawing and Painting, leaving in 1952. His strong, passionately tentative and joyously liquid glass-painting style seems to come out of an Edinburgh stable. He collaborated with John Piper the English painter on many projects including the baptistry wall at Coventry Cathedral and the glass crown at the Liverpool RC Cathedral. Tom Denny is a 1970’s product of the Drawing and Painting School at ECA while the original Stained Glass course at Swansea Art College was founded by an ex-ECA student in 1916. Patrick Reyntiens OBE went on to become the head of Fine Art at the Central School of Art and in 2016 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate for service to the arts by the University of Edinburgh.
Nowadays many artists ﬁnd that they can / have to subsidise their incomes through an involvement in school and community group work, as Alec has done in Glasgow. These are valuable points at which to tie in references to existing work of a similar nature and pointing to the continued relevance of all the arts. Visiting specialists from across all the arts areas are a valuable asset to learning and the continuing credibility of, and potentially a deeper interest in, the art-form involved : budgets are set aside for this and are continually scrutinised for their eﬃcacy and value for money. The practice of architects commissioning on behalf of their clients by introducing integrated artwork at the outset of a new building has largely fallen out of favour but remains a relevant aspiration. In its place however many public and private organisations commission new works of art and it is in the realm of public art that the many innovative advances in glass art can be experienced.
This is the eigth part of a 10 part essay, to continue reading please follow the link below
Alternatively the whole essay, without pictures, can be read as a PDF here, or to go to the beginning of the essay click Part 1 – St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church, Edinburgh.
Alec Galloway (b.1964) is a Scottish stained glass artist and painter based in Inverclyde on the West coast of Scotland. After studying at the Edinburgh College of Art, he spent some time working in the UAE, before returning to Scotland in 2000. In conjunction with taking up a teaching post at the ECA (2000-12), where he took over from his old teacher Douglas Hogg, he also developed a commercial business, which in recent years has included many public art projects.