Masterpiece mural from Douglas Academy gets gallery showing

editorial image

A stunning ceramic mural from the former Douglas Academy building in Milngavie has been given pride of place at a major exhibition.

The work by renowned Scottish designer Robert Stewart is on display alongside over 500 artworks in The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts’ 152nd annual exhibition in the recently re-opened McLellan Galleries on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Robert Stewart attended Glasgow School of Art in the 1940s and he went on to become the head of printed textile department in 1949.

He was one of the most influential post war British designers and taught at the Glasgow School of Art for 35 years, over which time he inspired many young designers with his talent and passion.

His mural, which was installed in the original school building when it opened in 1967, was saved by Peter Trowles, Mackintosh Curator at the Glasgow School of Art, as it wasn’t possible to transfer it over to the new PPP-funded school building which opened in 2009.

Made up of 800 or so tiles, Peter and a colleague spent two days painstakingly removing the tiles from their doomed site when the school was about to be demolished.

The abstract work is said to have been inspired by the sight of a seagull passing in front of the sun while Stewart was lying on his back looking at the sky on holiday on Oronsay.

It has been called a ‘sixties icon’ which pays homage to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style.

Gordon Currie, head of East Dunbartonshire Council’s education department, said: “The mural is a stunning piece and we were disappointed that it couldn’t be incorporated into the new school in a way that would do it justice.

“At the time of the move we were determined to preserve it and ensure that it would go on to be housed in an appropriate place.

“I’m delighted that is now being enjoyed by art lovers in what feels like a very natural home, given the artist’s background.”

Jimmy Cosgrove, co-curator of the exhibition at The McLellan Gallery, said: “Robert created about 20 murals and this is a fine example of one of them.All his work was of a very high order.”

The exhibition runs from Sunday, November 10 until Sunday, December 8.