Art Glass Students’ Shining Achievement at Royal Infirmary Glasgow

Incorporation of Coopers window (detail), Ship on the Clyde
Incorporation of Coopers window (detail), Ship on the Clyde

Title:
Unveiling of the Incorporation of Coopers' window

Venue:
Glasgow Royal Infirmary
84 Castle Street
Glasgow
Glasgow & the Clyde Valley
G4 0SF

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Two new stained-glass windows have been unveiled in the main link corridor of Glasgow Royal Infirmary – the third and fourth in an ongoing series for each of the Incorporated Trades of the Trades House of Glasgow. The windows, for the Incorporation of Fleshers and the Incorporation of Coopers, were unveiled on 27th October and 3rd November respectively. The project is a collaboration between the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the City of Glasgow College and the Trades House of Glasgow.

The windows commemorate each of the trades and highlight their charitable activities, brighten the hospital corridor and provide something for staff and public to enjoy daily as they move through the building. It is planned that ultimately there will be 15 stained-glass windows, usually with one being added each year. There are 14 Incorporated Crafts, each one an individual charity. Window 15 will be for the Trades House itself. An element of continuity across all windows will come from an interpretation of the River Clyde at the top of each one, and a representation of part of the Trades House frieze at the foot of each (see images below).

Incorporation of Coopers window (detail), Coopers' crest
Incorporation of Coopers window (detail), Coopers’ crest
Incorporation of Coopers window (detail), Cooper's tools
Incorporation of Coopers window (detail), Cooper’s tools
Incorporation of Coopers window (detail), Trades House frieze
Incorporation of Coopers window (detail), Trades House frieze

The windows have been designed and made by HNC students from the Art Glass Design course of the City of Glasgow College, and this project formed a significant part of their course, utilising stained-glass making and other art glass techniques. All students produce designs, but one is selected after presentations to a joint panel, which the students collaborate on making over a number of weeks. The emphasis in making is on teamwork, with each student making elements of the window and bringing something unique to it in interpreting the design, which, in the case of the Coopers’ window, is by Anne Marie Smith, unveiled by the Deacon Convenor of the Trades House, Billy Birse-Stewart.

City of Glasgow College art glass students and Trades House office bearers at unveiling of the Incorporation of Coopers window
City of Glasgow College art glass students and Trades House office bearers at unveiling of the Incorporation of Coopers window
Incorporation of Coopers window unveiling by Deacon Convenor of the Trades House, Billy Birse-Stewart
Incorporation of Coopers window unveiling by Deacon Convenor of the Trades House, Billy Birse-Stewart

The students producing this window had a very challenging year in terms of production of their work – it was from 2019 into 2020, involving the first national lockdown and many changes in ways of working. Their achievement in realising a beautifully-crafted result in those times has been strongly highlighted by their tutors and the project partners.

Windows previously installed, in 2018 and 2019, are for the Incorporations of Wrights and Incorporation of Masons. All windows are accessible for all to see at any time, in the main public link corridor between the old and new buildings of the hospital.

More information can be found on social media: Instagram @artglasscogc and @tradeshouse, Facebook @artglasscogc. And via websites: https://www.tradeshouse.org.uk and https://www.nhsggc.scot/hospitals-services/our-hospitals/glasgow-royal-infirmary/

With thanks to Artmag contributor Gordon Reid for attending the unveiling of the Incorporation of Coopers’ window. Gordon would like to thank the staff and HNC Art Glass students of City of Glasgow College for all their help with this article.

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