Tag Archives: The House for an Art Lover

The Bells are Ringing

12 Aug

After our Irish fling, we are now in Galloway for the wedding of Paisley Boy’s younger daughter, in the village of Parton on the banks of Loch Ken, so one of my preoccupations this week is weddings.

The Boy spent almost forty years in the area and the connection is historical. His Mother was a young Glasgow teacher during World War Two and during the height of the German bombing of Clydeside, all the city’s children were evacuated. She arrived in this quaint village with twenty Govan waifs and strays who were billeted in local homes. The school now had three teachers, so this then-unmarried Glaswegian taught all the infants, both evacuees and locals, in The Village Hall. Almost seventy five years later, this is the venue for the event.

In memory of their Mother, The Father of  The Bride and his brothers have presented an inscribed brass hand-bell to the Village Hall. The bell was possibly used by their Mother to summon the children into the hall. I may have to ring the bell to curtail the Father of  The Bride’s speech.


I hope back in  the city bells are ringing  for the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry currently on public display at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, in Edinburgh ( 6th August – 31st. August). I am taking this opportunity, a time of  personal celebration and joy, to share some of the tapestries which have been lovingly created by volunteer embroiders across the globe.


New Bride

New Bride


The words  of 21-year-old Alma Mir, written on a menu on the aeroplane that brought her to a new life in Glasgow state:

 “I am so full of enthusiasm at the thought of starting my new life facing challenges and experiences, and the love of Arif, who just three weeks ago was a stranger to me.”

Her husband was 30-year-old accounts clerk Arif Mir and as was the norm then, they met for the for the first time on their wedding day.

Happily the research carried out by relatives to work out if the two would be compatible proved to be spot on.   Four children later  Arif  still introduces his wife, who is a qualified teacher, as  “the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Continuing on the theme of the perfect match I’d like to share a German love story:

Necropolis Glasgow 095


During the Second  World War, Isabella from East Lothian fell in love with Helmut Joswig, a German prisoner of war. After his discharge in 1948 they married in Edinburgh moving to Germany in 1953.  At first a  life was difficult for them because nobody would rent a home to a former enemy, so Isabella and Helmut built their own, where Isabella still lives.  She has five children and seven grandchildren.

One of Scotland’s most famous couples, architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and artist Margaret McDonald, lived in the south of France at Port Vendres, towards the end of their lives.  A Mackintosh Trail celebrates his time and legacy in Roussillon.


The Mackintosh Trail

The Mackintosh Trail


Back home in Scotland, The Mackintosh Architecture exhibition at the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow,  (from 18th July until 4th January 2015), charts the evolution of his iconic style and identifies previously unrecorded works.

The exhibition opened weeks after the fire at Glasgow School of Art which destroyed about 10 per cent of the building including the Mackintosh library.

On my return I will be interested to find out what a pair of ebonised oak chairs, dated from 1903, which Mackintosh made for Miss Cranston’s  Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow, went under the hammer for at auction in Edinburgh. They are valued at more than £10,000.

If a Mackintosh experience is what rocks your boat when saying:  ” I do ”   The House of an Art Lover  in Glasgow is the place for you.



As always I like to take every opportunity I can to remind my regular followers and to alert anybody reading this blog for the first time that the DRBs campaign to bring public awareness to four 19th century women whose campaigning bridged the gap between two world-changing protest movements: the emancipation of slaves and the fight for votes for women. ( download a free booklet: Women on the Platform from the sidebar).

Having spent the past year researching into the lives of our women, spending many hours looking at  personal letters and manuscripts in the  National Library of Scotland  I believe I am even more in awe of their many and varied achievements.

As weddings are this week’s theme, what may I ask were the marriage prospects for women in the 19th century?

Eliza Wigham never married, however, the other three all did, despite some opposition from the Society of Friends, the Quaker movement to which they all belonged.

What I had not realised, but now seems obvious, is that many women died in childbirth 150 years ago , so second and third marriages for the men was not unusual.

Jane Smeal married John Wigham after the death of his first wife. He was a prominent abolitionist and a leader of the Edinburgh Emancipation Society. She became step-mother to Eliza Wigham and they lived at 5 South Grey Street.

Pricialla Bright initially missed out on her own family life because she kept house for her brother, John . However when he remarried she accepted a suitor she had turned down before, the twice widowed  Duncan McLaren, Lord Provost of Edinburgh and then Liberal Member of Parliament in 1865.  She was disowned by the Society of Friends  for making this choice, although she still attended Quaker meetings.

They were considered by contemporaries as  “equal partners” working together on many campaigns.  They had three children and lived in Newington House in Edinburgh.

Elizabeth Pease also had to leave the Society of Friends because she married  Dr. John Pringle Nichol, a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Glasgow, who was a Presbyterian.

All strong minded women, who in all aspects of their lives, including who they chose to marry, are for me role models for future generations of women.  And that is precisely why as DRBs we feel passionate about making sure that these unsung heroines of Scottish history are remembered.

On a more frivolous note, I have rushed out to buy a copy of  Julia Donaldson’s latest children’s book:  The Scarecrow’s  Wedding  as an extra wedding present.

Julia, creator of the Gruffalo, who has recently moved from city life in Glasgow to village life in southern England, was at the Edinburgh Book Festival last week, performing some of her favourite picture books.  Sadly I was unable to be there to ask Julia to sign a copy for the newly weds.



The Scarecrow's wedding


The bride is a Norland-trained nanny, so I’m sure she will see the humour in the children’s story and not think I am implying that she is planning to spend the rest of her life with a scarecrow.


Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Darwell

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Darwell















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