Talwin Morris and the Glasgow Style

26 April - 11 July 2005

Though Arts and Crafts designers and architects sought to provide new ways of living for all, it was frequently only the wealthier members of society who were able to benefit from their work, through commissions and expensive purchases. It is often said that the best, and most enduring, designs are the ones we become most familiar with - ones that arrive in our homes almost by stealth. Talwin Morris (1865 - 1911) was certainly a designer who reached many people, and whose designs were accessible to most sections of society.

Often overlooked, Talwin Morris was a revolutionary designer of book covers for Blackie & Son between 1893 and his death in 1911, influenced by the art of his adopted city of Glasgow, as well as by European Art Nouveau. His stylised birds and flowers, whiplash lines and spare lettering brought the Glasgow Style to a wider audience and helped create the famous Glasgow 'rose' motif.

Talwin Morris has been described as the fifth member of the Glasgow Four, and his influence over the group was certainly important. Charles Rennie Mackintosh owed his commission for the Hill House at Helensburgh to Morris, as it was he who introduced the young architect to his enlightened employer, Walter Blackie.

The exhibition will include over sixty beautiful book bindings designed by Talwin Morris, demonstrating the full range of styles he created for Blackie, as well as rarely seen cover designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Jessie King and other Glasgow designers. On display will be furniture designs by Morris's contemporaries, and loans from the Glasgow School of Art include an important group of furniture by Mackintosh and an original architect's drawing of Hill House, designed by Mackintosh for Walter Blackie.

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