GLASGOW: Following a traditional Scottish breakfast, we boarded our bus. First stop, a visit to the “House for an Art Lover.” Originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh as an elegant country retreat for a person of taste and culture, today, more than 110 years later, House for an Art Lover exists to stimulate public interest in art, design and architecture. Through its studios, exhibitions, scholarships and access to learning for all ages, it has widened Mackintosh’s original vision to make House for an Art lover a house for everyone. The design for the house was originally submitted by Mackintosh in a design competition. He did not win and the building was eventually built after his death through interpretation from other artists. With a clear influence in Japanese design the house is built with the “male” side of the house facing north. Dark wood and paneling in the rooms on this side of the house that is lite by the northern more blue light. Off white wood and paneling is on the other side of the house the “female” side, lite by the southern light much warmer.
Fun fact: Stonehill is the proud owner of several Mackintosh chairs currently residing in the Martin Institute with a few on loan to the Queset House in Easton, MA.
Helga Duncan, Associate Professor of English at Stonehill and her husband are accompanying the group. At our initial meet and greet event Helga shared a list of books we may like to read. She also encouraged all of us to select our favorite Robert Burns poem. Helga and our guide, Conor did a lovely job reading some of Robert Burns poems to us while we traveled on the bus to visit Robert Burns Birthplace Museum while Helga explained the meaning behind the words. The Burns Museum offers a truly unique encounter with Scotland’s favorite son. The museum comprises the famous Burns Cottage where the poet was born, the historic landmarks where he set his greatest work, the elegant monument and gardens created in his honor and a modern museum housing the world’s most important collection of his life and works.
Our next stop was Culzean Castle. Standing on a dramatic cliff top overlooking the Firth of Clyde, the castle has been associated with the Kennedy family since the 14th century and was converted by Robert Adam between 1777 and 1792. Many of best pictures had to be taken in between the rain and wind blowing in off the Irish Sea. One of the best features of the castle is the oval staircase. The museum included a fine collection of paintings and furniture. The property is set in nearly 600 acres of stunning countryside and miles of waymarked paths lead visitors through majestic woodland and past secluded ponds. Views we were only able to see from the trolley ride to avoid the rain.
The group returned to the hotel in time to change for dinner. Our guide Conor suggested two restaurants to us so we split into two groups to enjoy a leisurely dinner with much laughter and good food.