J. & W. Guthrie & Andrew Wells

Painters and glaziers

B/W Advertisement for Guthrie & Wells 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1898, p. 183

Guthrie & Wells was established in 1898 when William Guthrie of J. & W. Guthrie took Andrew Wells (1845–1918) into partnership. 1

Wells had begun his artistic career by the age of 15 when working as a japanner (painting in imitation lacquer) in Edinburgh. He went on to join the studio of renowned stained glass artist Daniel Cottier, becoming one of his chief assistants. In 1886, Wells and his family emigrated to Australia, where he worked for Cottier in decorative interiors and furnishings at Lyon, Cottier & Co. in Sydney, founded in 1873. Just over a decade later Wells was back in the UK and a partner of the new firm, which had branches in Glasgow and London. 2

Guthrie & Wells's London branch was closed around 1903 and business consolidated at 237 West George Street, Glasgow. The firm issued shares to raise capital, and were sufficiently profitable in 1912 to pay dividends to their investors. One of Wells's sons, Archibald (1874–1939), was involved in the firm from around 1906. 3

Among Guthrie & Wells's many commissions were windows for Glasgow Free Church College (1898); Gilcomston Free Church, Aberdeen (1899); Cadder Church, Bishopbriggs (1908); Erskine United Presbyterian Church, Stirling (1910); and Trinity Church, Cambridge (1916). 4

In the early 1920s, the firm was managed by John A. Christie and Charles Paine, formerly head of applied art and design at Edinburgh College of Art. During this period many war memorial windows were made for churches including Lenzie Parish Church (1921); Callendar United Free Church (1921); and St Ninian's, Troon (1923). 5 The firm continued in various forms into the late 20th century, when its employees were able to restore a Mackintosh cabinet belonging to a Canadian emigré in the early 1980s. 6


1: Edinburgh Gazette, 30 November 1897, p. 1200; Advertisement, Glasgow Herald, 29 January 1898, p. 1.

2: Edinburgh Post Office directories, 1860–86; Glasgow Herald, 7 September 1939; National Probate Calendar, 1940, p. 191, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 25 May 2012]; Michael Donnelly, Scotland's Stained Glass: Making the Colours Sing,, Edinburgh: Stationery Office, 1997, pp. 30–1, p. 46.

3: Glasgow Post Office directories, 1900–09; p. 1b; Scotsman, 4 April 1913, p. 1; National Probate Calendar, 1940, p. 191, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 25 May 2012]; Scotsman, 9 May 1923, p. 7.

4: Glasgow Herald, 20 October 1898; Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 29 December 1899; Scotsman, 9 August 1910, p. 10; 13 January 1916, p. 9; John Giffford and F. A. Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Stirling and Central Scotland, London: Yale University Press, 2002, p. 226.

5: Scotsman, 25 September 1920, p. 1; 21 January 1921, p. 3; 16 May 1921, p. 10; 11 May 1923, p. 10.

6: The Times, 8 October 1983, p. 2.