Glasgow Society of Lady Artists


The Glasgow Society of Lady Artists was founded in 1882 by eight former students of the Glasgow School of Art, some of the first female students to attend classes there. The Club was founded in 1893 at 5 Blythswood Square, located just across Bath Lane from their male compatriots at Glasgow Art Club, and initially was rented for £120 per annum. By 1895, the Society had raised sufficient funds to purchase a building. In 1897, a gallery was added and internal alterations were carried out by architects Fred Rowntree and Malcolm Stark with interior decoration by George Walton. A fire severely damaged the Club in May 1901, but was rebuilt on the original designs and open again by late October 1902. The Society and Club remained active until 1971 with annual exhibitions and events. Financial pressures resulted in the dissolution of the Society in 1970 and the sale of 5 Blythswood Square in 1971. In 1975, the spirit of the Society was revived as the Glasgow Society of Women Artists.

Bessie A. Smart was an artist member of the Club. She served as honorary secretary in 1907–25 and then as treasurer 1925–34. She became a member around 1890 and died in 1942. 1


1: A Centenary Exhibition to Celebrate the Founding of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists in 1882, exh. cat., Collins Gallery, Glasgow, 8–30 September 1892, pp. 5–14, 38; Glasgow City Archives Collection: Dean of Guild plans, B4/12/1896/1/4463.