J. & W. Guthrie


B/W Advertisement for J. & W. Guthrie, 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1896, p. 150

J. & W. Guthrie were brothers John (born Edinburgh in 1847/8) and William (born Glasgow in 1851/2–1939). Their father was painter and decorator John Guthrie of Auchterarder, Perthshire. Guthrie Senior appears to have worked first in Edinburgh. By 1851 he had moved to 116 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. 1 By 1853 he was at 184 Sauchiehall Street, and advertised himself as a painter and paper-hanger, and subsequently as a 'master house-painter'. 2 Following his retirement in the 1870s, the business was run by his sons, who both attended the Glasgow School of Art during the 1870s. 3 From 1884 they expanded into stained glass design and manufacture, and the painter James Guthrie (no relation), a leading 'Glasgow Boy', was one of the notable artists they briefly employed [Knockderry Castle, 1887]. 4

John Guthrie moved to London in the late 1880s where he was a founder member of the Art Workers' Guild in 1888. He returned to Glasgow in 1897 and joined Francis H. ('Fra') Newbery's staff at the Glasgow School of Art, as director of the applied and technical design studios. He retired from J. & W. Guthrie at this time and the firm continued under William, who soon took Andrew Wells into partnership, becoming J. & W. Guthrie & Andrew Wells in 1898. 5

The Guthries put on a major display at the 1888 Glasgow International Exhibition which earned them several architectural commissions. 6 They displayed their work in their shops before it was finally installed. Clients included Trinity Congregational Church, Glasgow; the parish church at Tignahbruaich, Argyll; Glasgow Trades' House (James Sellars, 1889); Royal Clyde Yacht Clubhouse at Dunoon (T. L. Watson, 1889) and a church in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 7

The next generation continued the family design tradition. John Gordon Guthrie (1874–1961), a son of William and his first wife, an American, emigrated to the United States and worked for Tiffany as a stained glass artist. 8 Leonard Rome Guthrie (1880–1958), a son of John and his wife Jessie, became an architect in the offices of William Leiper, and then William Flockhart, whose daughter he married. 9 Leonard attended the Glasgow School of Art, where he was a contributor to the Magazine alongside Mackintosh, the Macdonald sisters, Jessie Keppie and others, and in 1902 illustrated H. I. Trigg's Formal Gardens in England and Scotland. 10


1: Census 1851, 622/00 120/00 015, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, [accessed 24 May 2012].

2: Glasgow Post Office Directories 1853–4 and 1859–60.

3: Birth, marriage and census information, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 24 May 2012]; Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1851–71.

4: Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1880–6; Michael Donnelly, Scotland's Stained Glass: Making the Colours Sing, Edinburgh: Stationery Office, 1997, p. 46.

5: Michael Donnelly, Scotland's Stained Glass: Making the Colours Sing, Edinburgh: Stationery Office, 1997, pp. 45–6; Edinburgh Gazette, 30 November 1897, p. 1200; Advertisement, Glasgow Herald, 29 January 1898, p. 1; Elizabeth Cumming, Hand, Heart and Soul, Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2006, p. 36.

6: Glasgow Herald, 23 April 1888, p. 13; Michael Donnelly, Scotland's Stained Glass: Making the Colours Sing, Edinburgh: Stationery Office, 1997, pp. 47, 49.

7: Glasgow Herald, 16 August 1888, p. 5; 29 May 1889, p. 9; 30 December 1889, p. 9.

8: Glasgow Herald, 18 February 1874, p. 1; Rona H. Moody, '200 Scottish Stained Glass Artists', Journal of Stained Glass, 30, 2006, pp. 164–89, 175; Martin M. May, Great Art Glass Lamps: Tiffany, Duffner & Kimberly ... Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2003, quoted without pagination, on www.worthpoint.com [accessed 24 May 2012].

9: L. R. Guthrie, Biography Report, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 24 May 2012].

10: Peter Savage, Lorimer and the Edinburgh Craft Designers, London: Steve Savage, 2005, p. 165.