Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Go visit the Lighthouse, but look deeper inside

I’ve featured a wander into the Lighthouse before, but that was focussed on the building and some interesting feature noted regarding only that aspect.

The Lighthouse Tower Spiral Stairs

The Lighthouse Tower Spiral Stairs

I’ve dropped in quite a few times since, mainly to get some exercise by climbing up the spiral staircase to the top of the tower, but there are occasional, changing, exhibitions featured there (I don’t think there was a decent one worth mentioning any time I’ve fallen through the door), and more interestingly, a permanent, dedicated exhibition space feature Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his life, and his work.

It seems to be slowly changing and expanding. (Unfortunately, bits of the audio-visual displays seem to be… unreliable).

I’m not sure how many people know about it, or visit, since its located on one of the upper floors, doesn’t have much in the way of signs or publicity, and when I’m there – I’m almost alone, with few others to be seen.

I’ve always meant to make a trip to look at this display more closely, but it seems to alter each time I drop in, with pieces moved around, or not seen.

The most stunning aspect is series of models of projects Mackintosh DIDN’T have the opportunity to complete.

Last time I was there, I thought they’d cleared those models away for some reason, or put them into storage – they weren’t to be seen where they had been before, at the entrance to the Mackintosh exhibition area.

I found them later, as I wander up to the top of the building, where they were found sitting on one of the landing.

I should have grabbed some pics, but the place was closing by the time I came across them.


I see one of local media sources has made that trip, taken some  pics, and added some archive material too…

No one has left their mark on Glasgow quite like Charles Rennie Mackintosh has.

Rightly heralded as one of the most innovative architects of the 20th century, the buildings he designed that stand tall in the city encourage visits from people from far and wide in pilgrimage to appreciate his genius.

And while the likes of The Lighthouse, the House for An Art Lover, Scotland Street School Museum and the Mackintosh church are all well known tributes to his originality, foresight and spirit of creation, they should also be looked at in tandem with the designs that never went past the drawing board.

The unbuilt Mackintosh gems that would no doubt have furthered his legacy and brought about a new level of architectural beauty to a city in Glasgow that already bears witness to his genius.

Competition entry designs that were brought to life in model form and exhibited within The Lighthouse and the House for An Art Lover in recent years.

The incredible Charles Rennie Mackintosh designs that never made it off the page

The article’s worth a look.

And the models are worth a visit.


24/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , , | Leave a comment

T.Rex in Town – ends on 31 July 2019 at Kelvin Hall

It’s been VERY interesting to compare the media coverage, and social media, regarding the two dinosaur exhibitions in Glasgow this year.

While the free show in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum produced a steady stream of media items, and endless mentions on social media, the Kelvin Hall event, behind an admission charge, generated neither.

In fact, had I not seen an early article about a wedding event held in the Kelvin Hall, I would have said there had been zero items – note that I’m comparing like-for-like here, with my source for media and social media items being the same feeds I use all the time. I don’t go looking for stuff. It either comes to me, or it doesn’t.

I wasn’t even intending to go to ‘T.Rex in Town‘ due to the fairly high ticket price, but relented when I got a concession. Back at the start, I noted the price was so high they had shown an excuse (or reason) on the web site:

About our Pricing

As with other major exhibitions, hosting ‘T.rex in Town’ is only made possible by generating income through ticket sales. The Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on display is an incredibly rare and important fossil which is being brought to the UK for the first time solely for this exhibition, and as such it requires special care and conditions. The revenue generated by ticket sales is what allows us to bring exciting exhibitions of this scale and significance to our home town. We have done our best to ensure that tickets are reasonably priced.

I only raise this since Dippy’s show was FREE in Kelvingrove – and was mobbed. I recognise circumstances vary.

I almost didn’t get my money’s worth either, as I made the most basic of modern photography mistakes – picked up a flat battery!

As I knew this was a low-light show in and enclosed gallery, I took the dSLR as opposed to the compact. I even planned ahead and put a spare battery on charge – then left home without it. Confirming just how good my memory is 😦

Fortunately, I carry a spare camera, so the compact did its job, and saved me.

I took one shot just to see how things looked (and hadn’t bothered about the guy stepping in front of me) – and the camera died (and I suddenly remembered I’d forgotten the battery on charge).

T Rex test shot

T Rex test shot

And it came out just fine in the low light (well, it’s what I mostly shoot, after all), with no need for post-processing to sort anything nasty.

But that was it, and I had to carry on with the compact – fortunately, it’s been fairly well fettled for low light too, so a disaster was avoided.

I took a lot of pics (that admission charge) in case a lot failed, so ended up with quite a few. Since I couldn’t decide which were best, I just threw the lot into this slide show.

Compare views of the left side of the skull (lower jaw) with those of the right – the forward part is actually a manufactured part to replace a missing section. But note the holes that can be seen on the left side (near the gap) – those holes are described as having been made by the bite of another T-Rex.

Although not really visible in the pics, there are also areas on the ribs which show there were breaks, which have healed over time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was a ‘virtual baby dinosaur’ to be seen, hatching from and egg, and looking cute.

I didn’t know if the camera could cope with this transparent subject, but it just about managed, although I wish it had been the dSLR, with a bit more control.

Virtual Baby T Rex

Virtual Baby T Rex

It fell… (poor shot, but it was dim and the subject was moving/animated).

Baby T Rex falls

Baby T Rex fall

There was a catering/feeding area just outside the exhibition (and shop), with another T Rex on duty.

I didn’t notice the ‘warning sign’ until later – I’m sure you can guess what it said 😉

T Rex lunch area

T Rex lunch area

It is actually a pretty good exhibition, complete with a number of interactive displays – mainly for the kids, although the adults didn’t seem to mind having a go.

There are some weird video presentations, by some of the team behind the project. They’re kind of funny, as the stand and look bored on screen (I think they even check their phones sometimes) until someone hits the button to start the presentation, when the pay attention, and deliver their piece to camera.

There’s one large presentation about how the skeleton was found, preserved, repaired (missing parts were created to complete it), and prepared for display.

As of this post, there’s just two weeks left of this exhibition.

19/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in Kelvingrove ends on 06 May 2019

Although it doesn’t have the pic below, it’s worth noting that the exhibition of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci which has been on show at Kelvingrove since 01 February 2019 ends in a few days.

Monday coming in fact, 06 May 2019.

We’ve already featured one example showing just why the Mona Lisa has that smile, now we have another.

Completed Mona Lisa

Completed Mona Lisa

Everything is better with cat hair“, especially if the cat is still attached!

30/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

T.Rex in Town – busy, but not mobbed

I’m going out a limb here, but suspect Trixie and T.Rex in Town is not going to beat, or even get close to Dippy’s visit records.

At £14 for an adult, and £8 for a child (with family ticket coming in at £39.50 – two of each saves £4.50), I think I’m fairly safe with that prediction.

I suspect the organisers, or someone involved, thinks the pricing is high – this is the first time I’ve seen an exhibition come with a section that includes an explanation of the pricing, and goes to describe what the admission money will be used for.

I’m studying the rules to see which concession category I can fit myself into, and get an £8 ticket, if I decide to splash out later.

I couldn’t make the trip yesterday, opening day of the exhibition, just to see if the place was mobbed for that.

I had to make do with lunchtime today instead.

As you can see below, it was fairly described as busy, and had I wanted to fiddle the pic I could have taken one of a completely deserted corner at some times, or a mobbed corner (as those leaving and arriving got in each other’s way).  So, I just went with the average.

Inside, things were much busier at the entrance to the exhibit.

Before you complain about the comparison, I’m perfectly aware it’s an ‘Apples and Oranges’ scenario (not like-for-like), and I’m only doing it as I know many others will, and it’s better to do it honestly rather than ignoring it.

Kelvin Hall T Rex in Town

Kelvin Hall T Rex in Town

19/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Leonardo da Vinci knew a good thing when he saw it

I’ve already mentioned Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at Kelvingrove.

I probably won’t include any pics of the exhibits though, as the room has subdued lighting to protect them for damage by over-exposure to light. Maybe later, when it’s quieter. But the sketches are both small and very subtle, a result of the way they were produced by silverpoint, in which a silver-tipped instrument inscribes lines on a surface that has been coated with a ground or pigment. This was used for drawing used in drawing during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries because it produced a fine line, and the sharp point was maintained in use.

But I came across an image of an earlier exhibition, The Da Vinci Experience, which took place in San Diego back at the end of 2009.

The pic makes it look as if da Vinci is looking (approvingly) at the A-12 on display just below his eyes.

Although most will identify the aircraft as an SR-71, it seems this is A-12 – 06933, on display at San Diego Air and Space Museum.

Briefly, The A-12 was a single seat aircraft, while the SR-71 (and YF-12) were 2 seat. The A-12 was shorter and lighter than the SR-71, meaning it could fly a bit higher and faster. Operationally, the A-12 was designed for direct overflight, with cameras pointing, straight down. The SR-71 was designed with oblique (side looking) cameras, avoiding the need for direct overflights.

da Vinci and A-12

da Vinci and A-12

Follow this link for the source, full size original of this image, and a collection showing all but one of the surviving aircraft on display.

06/03/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Dippy dinosaur breaks visitor record at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove

Had I known at the time that this pic would have been about Dippy’s record 275,000 visitors to Kelvingrove, I’d have taken a pic showing the star’s head.

As it was, I really took the pic to show how busy the place was during Sunday’s organ recital, and that the usual, stunning, purple illumination had been switched to a peculiar green (seriously, nobody uses GREEN lighting unless they want to show people are ill), but it barely shows in the pic.

I had wait for that gap in the ‘thronging crowd’ to even see the organ. Again, had I known about the visitor record, I’d have taken a different pic. But, the pic you actually have is always the best pic!

Scottish crowds have flocked to see Dippy the dinosaur during his UK tour, attracting more than 257,000 visitors to its current home in Glasgow.

It boasts a record for the three-year tour so far with nine weeks still remaining in the sculpture’s stint at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Glasgow marks the fourth stop in the UK tour and the previous record for the model saw 255,548 visitors between May and September in Birmingham, with the tour starting at Dorset and also visiting Belfast.

Scotland’s largest city is the most northerly stop for the dinosaur skeleton which has been hailed as the “most successful temporary exhibition at Kelvingrove” since 2006.

“Dippy on Tour is the most successful temporary exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum since it reopened after refurbishment 13 years ago.

“We’ve welcomed treble the number of visitors during this six-week period compared to last year, with the opening weekend being our busiest in more than a decade.

Dippy the dinosaur has attracted a record 250k visitors to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove

Kelvingrove Dippy Organ

Kelvingrove Dippy Organ

As I’m usually there two or three times during the week, I can corroborate the numbers, and that I’m not surprised.

As noted in my first post, I actually went on the second Sunday of the exhibition (yes, I really had forgotten about it) to catch the organ recital, and only realised Dippy was there when confronted by the crowds of people (inside and out), the overflowing car park (and traffic queue around the museum), and the biggest surprise that even the bike parking area was blocked, with at least two bikes on every stand!

While it may not be the same as the opening, Kelvingrove is STILL much busier at the weekend (with families and noisy kids – this week, there was one with a stick who banged it on the floor through most of the recital, not a word from the parents). Even weekdays are noticeably busy. During the week there are few families, but usually primary school parties visit.

Dippy’s exhibition is only about halfway done, and remains in Glasgow until May 6, then moves to Newcastle, Cardiff, Rochdale, and Norwich.

Quick close-up of the star, since I missed the head above!

Dippy Head Right

Dippy Head Right

05/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The (onging) tale of two dinosaurs

I guess I didn’t dig deep enough when I ‘compared and contrasted’ the story of two dinosaur exhibitions, one in Glasgow, and one in Edinburgh.

They’d been a handy tool to have a poke at the Edinburgh v Glasgow silliness, but I didn’t realise Glasgow was going to follow on with a stop for the dinosaur that featured in the Edinburgh exhibit. I’d just kind of informally assumed that two were on tour, and Glasgow had got one, and Edinburgh the other.

Another case of ‘Assume makes an ASS out of U and ME’.

Trix the Tyrannosaurus rex will be visiting Glasgow as part of the last leg of its European tour.

The T.rex skeleton will greet visitors in attack mode, with her ferocious teeth and enormous head mounted at eye level, when it goes on display at kelvin Hall from Easter this year.

Tickets to see Trix, a 67-million-year-old female who is 39-foot long, around 13 feet high, weighs five tonnes, have gone on sale…

Another dinosaur is following in Dippy’s footsteps and coming to Glasgow soon

‘She’ will be on display in the Kelvin Hall from April 18 to July 31 of 2019.

However, unlike the more friendly Dippy, across the road and welcoming visitors for free in Kelvingrove, Trix comes with an admission fee.

Tickets for the exhibition cost between £8 and £14 and can be bought HERE.

Trix the T.rex uncreditted pic via Glasgow Live article

Trix the T.rex uncredited pic via Glasgow Live article

Dippy’s watching.

Kelvin Hall From Kelvingrove

Kelvin Hall From Kelvingrove

05/02/2019 Posted by | council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Another big name for Kelvingrove – Leonardo da Vince arrives in February

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

Kelvingrove seems to be attracting some big names for its temporary exhibits nowadays.

Next on the list is Leonardo da Vinci, part of a nationwide event that marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci.

This sees some 144 of the Renaissance master’s greatest drawings in the Royal Collection being displayed simultaneously in twelve venues across the UK from 1 February to 6 May 2019, with different works on show in each of the participating museums and galleries.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum is the only Scottish venue to host one of the exhibitions of twelve drawings, and entry to the exhibition is included as part of the normal free admission (thank goodness).

There is a later exhibition: 22 November 2019 – 15 March 2020 – exhibition of 80 drawings at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, but that is separate, and comes with a ticket price.

Details from the Royal Collection Trust:

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, a nationwide event, will give the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work of this extraordinary artist. 12 drawings selected to reflect the full range of Leonardo’s interests – painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany – will be shown at each venue in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Sunderland, with a further venue to be announced.

Following the exhibitions at our partner venues, in May 2019 the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition of over 200 sheets at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings will then travel to The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in November 2019, the largest group of Leonardo’s works ever shown in Scotland.

24/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

A ‘Sir Billy Connolly’ coincidence

It’s not my imagination, spooky coincidences DO follow me around.

Last time, there was a Billy Connolly show in this gallery, I was there (not at the gallery, just on the spot).

This week, he was in the news again, basically announcing the end of his tours, as he has Parkinson’s (and Sir Billy Connolly was in Glasgow to launch his new art exhibition ‘Born On A Rainy Day’ which is running until the end of November at Castle Fine Art on Queen Street).

So, I got the chance to take another pic, or two.

That portrait is still there.

Queen Street Sir Billy Connolly

Queen Street Sir Billy Connolly

And his exhibition.

Castle Fine Art Billy Connolly On A Rainy Day

Castle Fine Art Billy Connolly On A Rainy Day

And the window.

I have to say his work falls into the ‘Not my cup of tea’ category, but that’s just me, it does seem to have some good reviews, and has a style I can see some people would like.

Billy Connolly Art

Billy Connolly Art Show

18/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The Reward Of Cruelty at The Hunterian (Updated)

After the previous post about the creepy benches at Glasgow University, I had to include a pic grabbed at the exhibition I mentioned in that post, William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum (in the Hunterian Art Gallery until the January 2019).

I’ve included the text from the work.

I should be able to give more details, sadly I can’t.

The exhibits had no plaques. Instead, they were all numbered and visitors could collect a free printed guide-book which contained the details of each exhibit. I didn’t note the number of this one, and there were more than 200 items listed.

The partied hard back in the 1750s – just jam a screw in the guest’s head to keep him up!

Spot the dog – I wonder if the cadaver was cruel to the ‘wee dug’, and this was his reward.

We could bring this back for animal cruelty today, might work better than the paltry fines and simple ban on keeping pets handed out nowadays.

Hunterian Art Gallery The Reward Of Cruelty

Hunterian Art Gallery The Reward Of Cruelty


Image Text

Image Text


Somehow, I managed to find the description!

William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)

The Four Stages of Cruelty:

The Reward of Cruelty

1751 Etching and engraving on paper.

Hogarth’s The Four Stages of Cruelty drew attention to the barbarism in eighteenth-century London. Here, an executed prisoner is dissected in the course of an anatomical lecture, the circular anatomy theatre being possibly that built by Inigo Jones for the Royal college of Physicians, where Hunter may have witnessed dissections.

18/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Hill House rescue works release Mackintosh items for Lighthouse display

Work to help preserve Mackintosh’s Hill House in Helensburgh have provided the opportunity to display some of the contents in Glasgow’s Lighthouse.

Good old Scottish weather (and Helensburgh doesn’t help by being beside the sea, and having a nice salty atmosphere) means that while Mackintosh may have been a revolutionary designer, what were cutting-edge materials and building techniques of 1902 have not stood the test of time, and The National Trust for Scotland is currently carrying out an extraordinary conservation project which involves enclosing the house in a mesh box, in order to protect it from the weather and allow it to dry out.

Since this has required the contents to be moved out of the house, it has allowed them to be moved into The Lighthouse as a temporary exhibition, so you can see them even if you can’t get to Helensburgh.

Working with his wife, Margaret Macdonald, Mackintosh designed the rooms and interior features of the house including those most well-known: the entrance hall, drawing room and main bedroom. Items from all these spaces are represented in this exhibition of more than 30 objects from the house, including chairs, light fittings, beds, mirrors, and tables.

Emma Inglis, curator (Glasgow and West), the National Trust for Scotland, said: “The Hill House is the most complete surviving example of Mackintosh’s whole-house approach to design. He designed the architecture of the building, interior decoration, and household furnishings to work in unison, creating rooms rich in interest and colour. Fundraising is still ongoing to save the Hill House and this exhibition is an opportunity to display objects which represent the heart and style of the Hill House.

Find The Hill House at The Lighthouse between 04 August and 23 September 2018 in Gallery One.

This is the drawing room of Hill House, as seen in 2017.

Click the image to see the huge original by Tony Hisgett on Flickr, shared under a Creative Commons licence.

It’s actually one of a number of photographs you will find with it, taken inside the house.

Hill House Drawing Room by Tony Hisgett on Flickr by Creative Commons

Hill House Drawing Room by Tony Hisgett on Flickr by Creative Commons

06/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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