I was very, very sad to hear, today, that Glasgow’s Art Nouveau landmark, The Glasgow School of Art, has been gutted by fire for the second time in four years.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece was heavily damaged by fire in 2014. It was in the midst of restoration and scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2019. Given the scale of the destruction, that is not likely happen now.
In fact, though there has, as yet, been no official word, I very much doubt that there is anything left to restore after the latest fire, this morning.
I visited the school in 2015 when restoration was just taking hold and I was truly looking forward to seeing it fully restored next year. Now all I have are memories of these few details I managed to capture with my phone on a very overcast day.
Decorative touches were everywhere, many of them familiar Rennie Mackintosh themes, like this weathervane with its coloured balls and resident pigeon – who regularly attracted live pigeons for a quick look.Wrought iron used for pure decoration – and every set of windows had a different motif. Typical Rennie Mackintosh touches. His style of Art Nouveau became known as the Glasgow Style and was widely imitated by his contemporaries.His masterpiece was the library, which was being fully restored at the time of the fire. This smartphone snap of a scale model, in the new art school building across the street, hints at Mackintosh’s artistry. After the first fire, the loss of the library was not its books, which could mostly be replaced. The loss was the multi-level library itself. You can still view the model.