Glasgow

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Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens, Glasgow. Designed by Boucher and Cousland and erected (elsewhere) in 1863-66.

To Glasgow this morning for a weekend binge on Charles Rennie Mackintosh. But there were other pleasures first: the train journey (which I rarely do) with its views of the Lake District, River Lune, red sandstone castle ruins at Penrith and crossing the Clyde into Glasgow Central. And an at-seat vegetarian sausage bun.

The tour proper starts later this evening, so I had the afternoon to myself. As I walked out of the station, I remembered how pink Glasgow is. (Buildings also come in grey or beige, but red sandstone is ubiquitous.) Armed with the brilliant and rather opinionated walking tour guide published by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, I explored the West End.

It’s a handsome city, with fine terraces everywhere. I confess that I prefer the “less is more” approach:

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Great Western Terrace, Alexander Thomson, 1867-77. There are some triglyphs on the taller blocks . . .

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. . . whereas this has had the whole patternbook thrown at it. Kirklee Terrace, Charles Wilson, 1845-64

IMG_1149There are so many fine buildings (albeit all front and some of that crumbling) that you start to take them for granted. In Kensington Gate there were a few houses with attractive decorated windows; I have no idea if they were original but they were worn enough to suggest so.

IMG_1148I walked through the Botanic Gardens to Kibble Palace, where I saw carnivorous pitcher plants for the first time. Even before I read about them, I found their appearance sinister as well as beautiful. They look as if Mackintosh himself might have designed them for single roses.

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Then on to the Kelvingrove Gallery, which I visit tomorrow. I’ve seen lots of buildings that have caught my eye – including some Brutalist stuff, which – after a surfeit of storybook/patternbook/corbels – does cleanse the palate.

(I particularly like the aristocratic fleur de lys motifs for the dispensary: nothing’s too good for the people.)

And this is what’s in store for me tomorrow:

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