As many of our followers know, Rachael and myself have been working hard on the next Gilded Age event entitled Alf Webster: Glasgow’s Lost Genius. We will be celebrating the life and works of the magnificent stained glass artist and master-craftsman, Alfred Alexander Webster (1883-1915), in a one day conference held in the at Websters Theatre in the heart of Glasgow’s West End.
Over the last six months, I have been trying to collate as much information about Alfred Alexander Webster, father of stained glass artist Gordon Webster and grandfather of the architect Prof.Robin Webster OBE through ANY means necessary. One of the best and very entertaining resources I’ve had at my disposal is working in the same office as Robin Webster. At the age of 74 (75 on Christmas Eve) Robin is tall, strapping and always very well dressed – It could be argued that Robin is not too dissimilar to his grandfather.
Although Robin, and his twin brother Mr. Martyn Webster (Consultant & surgeon) don’t actually remember much about their grandfather (they weren’t born when Alf died), they do have an unique insight into the production of stained glass. Through oral history interviews, the twins have managed to bring to life the Webster household in Pollokshields, clearly detailing the various rooms associated when living with a stained glass artist. Both Robin and Martyn remember clearly what their father called the ‘choosing room’. The ‘choosing room’ was a room where Gordon Webster kept all his glass stock; an array of wonderful varieties and colours of glass. Both men have stated that their father could easily spend hours in the room just picking out one piece of glass for a specific commission.
Oral history testimonies have allowed me to see, well…….the more human side to the stained art business and commission process. With stained glass, as with any business craft/art transaction, it is very easy to forget the creative process and people behind such amazing objects. So many people when visiting churches or buildings don’t notice or truly appreciate the amount of skill, time or effort behind these windows – let alone the humans behind them! To hear more of these wonderful stories, I’m sorry to say that you will just have to buy a ticket to the conference on the 6th November!
On another note, the project has been picking up memento with several academics, including lecturers from the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow, becoming really interested in being part of the overall project. With the speaker list ONLY being released last week, we have already sold a quarter of the tickets! The sales have been helped with the conference being covered in a double page spread in the Sunday Mail last Sunday.
Tickets are a bargain at £40 and £20 for students! This includes lunch/tea/coffee and cakes!
To find out more about the project, or to buy a ticket please go to www.glasgowsgildesage.org.uk or call 0141 552 1331!