Glasgow has a rich architectural heritage and many important buildings such as head offices, hotels, railway stations and public buildings are finished off with sculpture, stained glass, tiles and other decoration.
Sometimes going unnoticed are quite modest buildings, many outwith the city centre which also feature attractive finishing touches, these additions to local banks, commercial premises and houses weren’t really necessary but they showed a pride in the business or building.
In her book ‘People’s Pictures: the story of tiles in Glasgow’ Elspeth King, former curator of the People’s Palace said “Many of the closes were tiled for cleanliness and were incidentally decorative, quietly enriching the lives of those who lived there and those who passed through them.”
Many Glasgow tenements, especially in the West End and South Side still have their original tilework and a walk around Hyndland or Shawlands can still be ‘quietly enriching’.
Before the idea of corporate identity, many Glasgow retailers has their own version of branding, shoe shops like Bayne and Duckett or Easiephit and grocers like Andrew Cochrane, featured their name in doorway mosaics. Sadly, many of these mosaics have now vanished.
Although this book is concerned mainly with Glasgow, I have included some examples from other parts of Scotland which were simply too good to leave out.
The Finishing Touch: decorative tiles and mosaics
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