On Tuesday 2 July 2013, as part of the fundraising campaign to support the restoration of the Literary and Scientific Institute, Dr George Rawson gave a stimulating lecture to a packed Bridport Town Hall on Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s drawings of Dorset. Dr Rawson was formerly Fine Art Librarian at Glasgow School of Art, and is an authority on Mackintosh and author of the publication which accompanied the popular Fra Newbery exhibitions held across Dorset in 2008.
Mackintosh’s drawings of Dorset include architectural details of local buildings, which were used to inform the plans for the iconic Glasgow School of Art building. The talk covered Mackintosh’s relationship with Dorset from the 1890s to the 1920s but focused mainly on his prolific sketching tour across the county in the summer of 1895. Dr Rawson’s presentation juxtaposed images of Mackintosh’s drawings of headstones and various building details with present-day photographs, and went on to illustrate how features recorded by Mackintosh in Dorset were later incorporated into buildings in Scotland, notably the Glasgow School of Art.
Mackintosh’s distinguished career was nurtured by Fra Newbery, Director of Glasgow School of Art from 1885 to 1918, who trained and taught at the Bridport School of Art (in the Literary and Scientific Institute building), and who returned to Dorset to create the paintings and murals which decorate Bridport’s recently renovated Town Hall.
The talk was enthusiastically received by the large audience, and comments included, “It is always enjoyable listening to an expert on their subject and so it was on Tuesday evening.”
All proceeds from the event will go to support the Bridport Literary and Scientific Institute (LSI) restoration project.