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NORMAN WATSON: Rare Glasgow School panels

Panels by Talwin Morris, £5250 (Lyon & Turnbull).
Panels by Talwin Morris, £5250 (Lyon & Turnbull).

Many of you will have visited the Mackintosh Room at V&A Dundee and may have been surprised at how sometimes the ‘gloomy’ dark-stained oak panels make the space.

Lyon & Turnbull’s recent ‘Design’ sale in Edinburgh included two rare Glasgow School panels which may not exactly have brightened the V&A’s recreation of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1907 room for Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street tearoom, but would certainly not look out of place in it.

Created by Talwin Morris

Created around 1893 by the prolific book designer and decorative artist Talwin Morris (1865-1911), the panels were made from brass with repoussé decoration, and were later framed. Each panel measured approximately 11 x 5 inches.

Morris is known particularly for his Glasgow School furniture, metalwork and book designs.

The panels demonstrate the key characteristics of the ‘Glasgow Style,’ with their heavily-stylised linear plant forms and ‘Glasgow’ roses.

After spending part of his early career working as an art editor in London, Morris took up a post as arts manager for the Glasgow publisher Blackie & Son in 1898, a position he held until his death in 1911.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Working for Blackie, he quickly became acquainted with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the circle of artists associated the Glasgow School of Art, which had a significant influence on his work.

Perhaps best known for his book designs, Morris also produced items of furniture, textiles and metalwork, which were incorporated into many of his decorative schemes, including his own home at Dunglass Castle, and the refurbishment of W. W. Blackie’s Printing Works, where these very panels once formed part of an entrance screen.

Estimated at £3000-£5000, the panels sold for £5250.

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