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Latitude: 55.874 / 55°52'26"N
Longitude: -4.2904 / 4°17'25"W
OS Eastings: 256796
OS Northings: 666913
OS Grid: NS567669
Mapcode National: GBR 0CG.C2
Mapcode Global: WH3P2.2M77
Plus Code: 9C7QVPF5+JR
Entry Name: Lilybank House, 42 Bute Gardens, Glasgow
Listing Name: University of Glasgow, Gilmorehill Campus Building D9, 42 Bute Gardens, Lilybank House
Listing Date: 15 December 1970
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 375873
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB32853
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Hillhead
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
The main villa has a slightly advance central bay with arched windows to the ground floor. There is a cill band at the 1st floor and a corniced parapet above, panelled to the centre. The rear elevation is four-bay, two-storey and basement, with advanced outer bays. The tall floriate incised chimneycans were added by Thomson (1863-65).
The south wing addition (by Alexander & George Thomson) is single storey and basement. Steps (with die parapet walls) lead up to a large tetrastyle Greek Ionic portico. It has a roll-moulded plinth forming a cill band and pedestal. There are two wide bays to the left of entrance, each with narrow windows. The south elevation has a pedimented advanced gable with a tripartite, mullioned window. The west wall has one window in the outer bay. The rear elevation is pedimented with a raised gable, breaking forward, with a tripartite window and smaller windows in the flanking bays. The chimney stacks are axial, with independent flues, linked at the top, and with tall floriate incised chimneycans.
The north wing addition (remodelled by Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh) is lower in height and also has three bays, with the outer right bay set forward. It is stylistically in keeping with the mid-19th century villa, with round arched windows to the ground floor and a corniced parapet. There is an arched entrance in bay to the left with a glazed fanlight. The north elevation is three-bay with an advancing central bay. There are blind arched niches in the ground floor outer bays. The tall wallhead chimney stacks are linked by the parapet. There is a further corniced wallhead stack to the rear.
The interior was seen in 1988. The main villa is top lit, with a corniced entrance hall with anta pilastered, etched glass door. The south wing entrance hall has elaborate plasterwork with Greek detailing including a carved pillar screen and cornicing. Stencil decorations were discovered in the south wing during refurbishment in 2005.
The roofs are grey slate. Rainwater goods are cast iron.
Lilybank House is of outstanding interest as a unique example of a building altered by two of Scotland's premier architectural firms, A & G Thomson and Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh (John Honeyman and Keppie prior to 1901). The building exhibits fine work by both practices in two phases of extension to the north and south of the original house, which itself is an excellent example of a former residential villa.
Lilybank was built for Robert Allen, a Glasgow merchant, in around 1850. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Town Plan (surveyed, 1858) shows a rectangular-plan house with two parallel wings extending from the northeast, probably forming a small service court. From 1857 the house was leased by John Blackie Jr (1805-73) of the publishing firm, Blackie & Son. Blackie bought the house in 1864. William Ewart Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh were entertained at the house during Blackie's period of office as Lord Provost of Glasgow (1863 to 1866).
By 1878 the house was occupied by insurance broker John Burns MacBrayne. The building was altered to designs by John Honeyman & Keppie to form the Queen Margaret College hall of residence for 25 women in 1894. The University of Glasgow took over the hall on its merger with Queen Margaret College in 1923. The building has been in departmental use since the removal of Queen Margaret Hall to a new site at Bellshaugh Road in 1964.
Alexander Thomson (1817-1875) was a highly original architect whose early specialism in picturesque villas, in collaboration with his brother George, developed into a large and prolific practice producing all sorts of buildings, usually in distinctive neo-Greek or Egyptian styles. Famous Glasgow works include St Vincent Street Church (1867), Egyptian Halls, Union Street (1870) and Grecian Buildings, Sauchiehall Street (1867).
The firm of John Honeyman & Keppie undertook works to convert the house to a hall of residence in 1894-95, including the rasing of the north wing by an additional storey. Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) contributed to the concurrent Queen Margaret College Anatomical Department and it is possible he may also have been involved here, though there is no evidence to confirm this (Mackintosh Architecture).
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) was born in Glasgow and is internationally regarded as one of the leading architects and designers of the 20th century. He became known as a pioneer of Modernism, although his architecture took much inspiration from Scottish Baronial, and Scottish and English vernacular forms and their reinterpretation. The synthesis of modern and traditional forms led to a distinctive form of Scottish arts and crafts design, known as 'The Glasgow Style'. This was developed in collaboration with contemporaries Herbert McNair, and the sisters Francis and Margaret Macdonald (who would become his wife in 1900), who were known as 'The Four'. The Glasgow Style is now synonymous with Mackintosh and the City of Glasgow.
Mackintosh's work is wide-ranging and includes public, educational and religious buildings to private houses, interior decorative schemes and sculptures. He is associated with over 150 design projects, ranging from being the principal designer, to projects he was involved with as part of the firm of John Honeyman & Keppie (Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh from 1901). The most important work during this partnership was the Glasgow School of Art, which was built in two phases from 1897 and culminated in the outstanding library of 1907. Other notable works include the Willow Tea Rooms (LB33173), the Glasgow Herald Building (now The Lighthouse) (LB33087) and Hill House (LB34761), which display the modern principles of the German concept of 'Gesamtkunstwerk', meaning the 'synthesis of the arts'. This is something that Mackintosh applied completely to all of his work, from the exterior to the internal decorative scheme and the furniture and fittings.
Mackintosh left Glasgow in 1914, setting up practice in London the following year. Later he and Margaret moved to France, where until his death, his artistic output largely turned to textile design and watercolours.
Change of statutory address and listed building record updated as part of the University of Glasgow Hillhead Campus Review, 2011. The building numbers are derived from the University of Glasgow Main Campus Map (2007) www.gla.ac.uk.
Previously listed as '42 Bute Gardens, Lilybank House'.
Listed building record revised in 2019.
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