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Erskine 1916: Regimental Quilt

By Bethany Lane, University of Glasgow MSc Museum Studies postgraduate student

Blog - QuiltThis regimental quilt was an entry in the Domestic Welfare Exhibition, which was on from 13th October to 1st November 1924. The exhibition showcased arts, crafts, building trades, furnishings and photographs. The highlight of the exhibition was a steel house, which made front page news. For the three weeks it was open, there was an extensive musical programme led by the band from the 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. This quilt was awarded ‘special’ second prize by the judges.

Read Bethany’s previous posts on silk embroidered postcards, battlefield pillowcases, and a pantomime leaflet in the collections of the Erskine Hospital.

Art, Law and the Sinking of the Lusitania

By Professor Nick Pearce, Sir John Richmond Chair of Fine Art, University of Glasgow

Rigging Plan of Lusitania. University of Glasgow Archive Services Ref: UCS1/110/367/3.

Rigging Plan of Lusitania. University of Glasgow Archive Services Ref: UCS1/110/367/3.

At 2.10pm on 7th May, 1915, Clyde-built Cunard liner the RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland. Within 18 minutes, the ship had sunk. Only 761 of the 1,959 the passengers and crew on board survived. Amid the controversy of the sinking of a civilian vessel which, with the death of 123 American citizens, brought America’s involvement in the War ever closer and the accusation by the Germans that the ship was carrying munitions, were the personal stories of those on board. This talk will highlight the stories of art dealer Edgar Gorer and art collector, Sir Hugh Lane, both of whom would lose their lives. At the time of his death, Gorer was fighting a legal battle in the US courts to save his reputation; Lane’s death would see the British and Irish art establishment in an ownership tug-of war over his bequest, which would last for decades to come.

Today’s lecture has developed out of extensive research undertaken on Chinese art dealer Edgar Gorer as a part of a Leverhulme Research Grant to Catalogue the Chinese works of art at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight.

A full-length essay on Gorer can be accessed for free here.

The University of Glasgow Archives hold records relating to the design and construction of the Lusitania as part of the records of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders. For more information on the collection contact the Duty Archivist.


by Stacey Clapperton, PhD Candidate in History of Art, University of Glasgow

A British soldier, who may have spent endless months fighting in the trenches on the Western Front, finds himself in an army hospital with undisclosed injuries. We don’t know how long he has been lying in his hospital bed. We don’t know the last time he enjoyed the comforts of home. We learn, from the author of this scene that the soldier in question, Private Swish, has had his dug out blown in and is awakening from “dreams of beautiful nursing sisters and blue jacketed bliss”. Now this may not seem like a particularly humorous moment for this or any soldier, but in the expertise of a cartoonist armed with subtle humor, the scene transforms. Private Swish awakens to a barked command of “DRINK THIS” by an unsympathetic, sullen and knackered looking hospital orderly who looks like he’s about to force the patient to shift over, so he himself can have a lie down. This scene composed of a simple ink and wash drawing with white highlights, measuring a modest 29.1 x 22.7 cm, was created by Osborne Henry Mavor in 1916.


The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery Reference: GLAHA 43148


The Wilfred Owen of Cartooning?

By Laurence Grove, Professor of French and Text/Image Studies, University of Glasgow

Gilkison book cover

When Marianne Taylor, best known for her work as BBC correspondent on the referendum, contacted me concerning cartoons and a family connection I was intrigued to say the least. One meeting and a couple of coffees later it felt as though I knew Archie Gilkison personally.


Call for Papers: Modernism at War


Modernism at War, University of Glasgow, Saturday 18 October 2014

Keynote speakers:  

  • Adam Piette (University of Sheffield), ‘War Modernism as Commemorative Trauma’
  • Randall Stevenson (University of Edinburgh),”Hoarse Oaths that Kept Our Courage Straight”: Language and War, Modernism and Silence’