Collection DC 073 - Papers of Conrad McKenna, student and staff member at The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland

Untitled Christmas card We Three Kings of Orient are. Buon Natale. Buon Anno Untitled Christmas card Revelin Fortress, Dubrovnic At Christmastime there is no class distinction Untitled Christmas card (Version 1) Untitled Christmas card (Version 2) Merry Christmas to you and our heartiest wish for true and lasting peace in the new year 1945 May... Hope many a smile will come your way starting from this very day et Pendant Toute (Version 1) Hope many a smile will come your way starting from this very day et Pendant Toute (Version 2) Hope many a smile will come your way starting from this very day et Pendant Toute Untitled Christmas card Untitled Christmas card Have a happy Christmas Untitled Christmas card La Carretta Mill Lade, River Kelvin With very best wishes for a happy Christmas and every fair wind in the coming year For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour which is Christ the Lord Seasons Greetings. Three kings came from the east country which knew they by astronomy A merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Untitled Christmas card Untitled Christmas card Roofs at Windley Untitled Christmas card Untitled Christmas card Dreaming Untitled Christmas card Untitled Christmas card Ornamental Robin St Maris dell'Ammiraglio Palermo Untitled Christmas card Christmas and new year greetings With very best wishes for Christmas and new year Merry Christmas and Happy New Year With best wishes for Christmas and New year Greetings and good health ... Ad infinitum Merry Christmas Odds Bods (Version 1) Odds Bods (Version 2) The Severin Family 1958 toast and wish trust to all their friends Untitled Christmas card Untitled Christmas card Best wishes for Christmas and New Year 1985 With best wishes, Christmas 1986 Glasgow School of Art presents a Christmas Ball The Glasgow School of Art presents a Christmas Ball: Elizabethan Gordon Huntly / Graphics Text from Gordon Huntly exhibition and example designs Text from Arts of Christmas Exhibition
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Key Information

Reference code

DC 073


Papers of Conrad McKenna, student and staff member at The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland


  • c1940s-2010s (Creation)

Level of description



0.60 Linear Feet

Content and Structure

Scope and content


  • a selection of Christmas cards and other ephemera collected by Conrad McKenna, a former student and staff member at The Glasgow School of Art, plus typed and handwritten materials used by McKenna to deliver teaching at The Glasgow School of Art
  • correspondence between Conrad McKenna and The Glasgow School of Art and members of staff, and correspondence and printed ephemera regarding The San Gimignano Summer School.

The cards and ephemera have been created by former Glasgow School of Art staff and students and friends of Conrad McKenna, including Gordon Huntly, Rosalind Bliss, Michael Moulder, Peter Sumsion, Michael Healey, Mark Severin and James Cosgrove.

This material may contain sensitive information about individuals that is protected by the Data Protection Act. Until this material has been checked for sensitive information, it will not be available for researchers. Once this Data Protection work is complete the collection will be open for access, however any sensitive information will be closed and inaccessible for 75 years from the date of creation.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

This material has been appraised in line with Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections standard procedures.


System of arrangement

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Conrad T J McKenna, born 8th March 1923, was admitted as a student to Glasgow School of Art in December 1939 at the age of 16. WW2 interrupted his studies when he was called up to the RAF in 1942, serving from then until 1946. He returned to Art School in 1946 and was awarded a Diploma in Commercial Art in 1948. He won several prizes and scholarships during his time at GSA, including the Robert Hart Bursary in 1941, the W.O. Hutchison Prize for Drawing in 1948, the Main Scholarship for Commercial Art in 1948 and a £120 Travelling Scholarship in 1949.
Conrad was also a member of GSA staff from 1950-1984. His positions included: Visiting Staff, Design & Crafts 1953/54; Assistant, Design & Crafts 1954/55-1965/66; Assistant, General Course 1966/67-1970/71; Lecturer, First Year Course 1971-1972; Supervisor, Evening School 1972-1984. He spent a sabbatical year in 1962-1963 as a visiting lecturer in the Fine Art faculty of the University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, West Africa, returning to GSA until his retirement in 1984.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Harry Jefferson Barnes was born on 3 April 1915 and grew up in Sheffield where his father was a professor at the University. He was educated at Repton School and went on to study at the Slade under Randolph Schwabe. He took the Diploma in Fine Art and was awarded a post-graduate scholarship which he used to study Stage Design. Barnes then spent the greater part of 1937-1938 travelling in Europe studying the teaching of art and this culminated in a report on the teaching of art in primary schools.
After teaching for some years in secondary schools, Barnes took up duties as Assistant Master in Painting & Drawing at Glasgow School of Art on 4 January 1944. In 1946, on the retirement of Henry Alison and with Douglas Bliss taking up the Directorship, Barnes was promoted to Deputy Director and Registrar, a newly created post.
He was appointed Director when Bliss retired in 1964 and oversaw many developments. One of his major achievements was the setting up of the Mackintosh School of Architecture in 1965 in collaboration with Sir Charles Wilson at the University of Glasgow. Another achievement was the lease of buildings at Culzean Castle for the use of the School. Throughout the seventies students and staff stayed for a week at a time to study and be inspired by the natural environment. He oversaw massive extension at Renfrew Street with the building of the Foulis Building, the Newbery Tower and the laying of the foundations of the Bourdon Building.
Barnes' time as Director was one of significant academic development, which paved the way to the present workings of the School. For example in 1978 the old Diploma courses were replaced by Degree courses. His own personal interest in stage design was shown in the part he played in promoting and managing many of the student's plays at Glasgow School of Art. He was also a set designer for the Glasgow Grand Opera Society.
During the fifties and the sixties, interests in Scotland gravitated to the crafts and Barnes was involved in the creation of the Scottish Crafts Centre Edinburgh and was appointed Convener of the Panel of Assessors who judged the work submitted to the Centre. He also represented the Scottish Crafts Centre as a member of the Joint Crafts Committee. He was then invited by the Secretary of State to be a member of the Consultative Curriculum for six years and, arising out of this, was invited to act as Chairman for the Working Party looking at the teaching of art in secondary schools. The Report from this, Curriculum No. 9, was published.
Barnes was influential in setting up the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, of which he was Chairman for many years. In conjunction with John Noble, Barnes acquired the Edinburgh Tapestry Company in 1955 at The Dovecot Studios and assisted in running it. Barnes also served on the Saltire Society and the National Trust and was on the board of the Citizens Theatre. He received an honorary MA from the University of Glasgow in 1966 and an honorary LLD from the same university in 1980. He had been appointed CBE in 1971 and was knighted in 1980.
Barnes had a personal and proffessional friendship with Randolph Schwabe, whom he studied under at the Slade, and who recommended him for the post of Assistant Master in Painting and Drawing at Glasgow School of Art. He married Schwabe's daughter Alice in 1941. Barnes retired from Glasgow School of Art in 1980 to his home in Argyll. He died on 31 May 1982 after a long illness.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Douglas Percy Bliss was born on 28 January 1900 in Karachi, India. He was educated at Watson's College, Edinburgh, 1912-1918, and at Edinburgh University, 1918-1922. He studied painting at the RCA under Sir William Rothenstein, 1922-1925, receiving an Associateship. From 1932 Bliss was a part-time tutor at the Hornsey School of Art and then at the Blackheath School of Art. During the Second World War he served in the RAF, at one point being posted to Scotland.
He was Director of Glasgow School of Art from 1946 to 1964 and under his guidance the School saw a re-emergence of the importance of design and the creation of the three new or reconstituted departments of Interior, Textile, and Industrial Design, raising them to the status of Diploma subjects, and providing them with fully equipped workshops. He strove to bring figures from London to teach, and those that came to Glasgow included Gilbert Spencer (formerly of the RCA and the brother of Stanley Spencer) and Eric Horstmann. Whilst in Glasgow he worked to save the Mackintosh tea-rooms, enlisting people such as Nikolaus Pevsner and John Betjeman to support the campaign and he was tireless in encouraging critical appreciation of the city's architecture. When Bliss left Glasgow School of Art in 1964 the School was listed in Whitaker's Almanac as among the six highest-ranking Art Schools in Britain.
Bliss was well known as a wood engraver and as a historian of wood engraving, although he was also known as a painter of watercolour landscapes. He selected and engraved Border Ballads for Oxford University Press in 1925 and wrote his History of Wood Engraving in 1928. He also illustrated many books throughout his lifetime before returning to painting watercolours in the 1980s. He was elected a member of the SWE 1934, and RBA 1939. He retired to Windley Cottage near Derby and was soon invited to become a Governor of the local art college, Derby School of Art. Bliss died on 11 March 1984.

Name of creator

(fl c1980s-)

Biographical history

Rosalind Bliss trained as a mural painter at Edinburgh College of Art but she turned to engraving later in her career. Her father was the artist and engraver, Douglas Percy Bliss, and it was from him that she learned the rudiments of wood engraving. However Rosalind's work as an engraver soon blossomed and as well as producing bookplates she has also worked as a book illustrator.

Name of creator


Biographical history

James Cosgrove, or Jimmy Cosgrove as he is more popularly known, is a Scottish artist and designer. He was a member of staff at GSA where his positions held included Lecturer in Design (Textile Design) from 1973-1980, and Senior Lecturer in Charge of Printed Textiles from 1980-1982, before being appointed Deputy Director of The Glasgow School of Art. He retired from academic life in 1999.
His recent work in painting, drawing and collage is derived from travel in general and people and places in the west of Scotland in particular - including Arran and Ayrshire. A regular exhibitor at the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Glasgow Institute, The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour and the Paisley Art Institute, Cosgrove also exhibits widely in a number of commercial galleries.
He is a Director with the House for an Art Lover and has contributed to books on art and design, Charles Rennie Mackintosh - and ART PARK Glasgow at Bellahouston Park, where he has a Sculpture fabricated in iron and steel titled; ‘Shipbuilding - Homage to those who made the Clyde great’.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Painter in oil of portraits and figure subjects and occasional landscapes. Studied under Greiffenhagen at Glasgow School of Art from which he graduated in 1923 before undertaking further studies in London until 1925. Runner-up in the Prix de Rome, 1926. Later became a tutor at Glasgow School of Art. During this time he held the taught Illustration (School of Design, Pictorial) 1927/28 - 1928/29; Drawing, painting & composition (D&P) 1929/30 - 1931/32; Drawing & Painting (Upper School) 1932/33 - 1933/34; Lecturer of principles of composition (Upper School) 1933/34. Amongst his students were David Donaldson and Joan Eardley. He is listed in the School's World War One Roll of Honour. If you have any more information, please get in touch.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Phyllis Dodd studied at the Liverpool School of Art before moving to the Royal College in London where her future husband Douglas Percy Bliss was also to study. The couple married in 1928 and in 1945 moved to Glasgow when Percy Bliss was appointed Director of the Glasgow School of Art. She was a prolific artist and specialised in portraiture.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born Dumbarton. Painter in oil and watercolour and illustrator; marine, landscapes, especially churches, also some continental scenes and in Connecticut. Studied at Glasgow School of Art and Art Student's League in New York. Became a follower of Eric Ravilious, John Nash, Gillies(qv) and Wilson. During WW2 he served at sea, providing him with experience and knowledge on which his later marine paintings were based. Senior tutor Glasgow School of Art for many years. Reputedly 'witty, inventive, moodily dramatic'. Elected RSW 1960. Outstanding contributor to the affairs to the affairs of the RGI, serving as secretary for many years. Exhibited regularly RSA 1948-85 & GI(101) 1947-86, after 1981 from Rockhouse, 23 Shoregate, Crail, Fife. Represented in Dundee AG, Glasgow AG, Paisley AG.
Member of staff at the Glasgow School of Art: Assistant: Design & Crafts 1947/48 - 1964/65, Senior Assistant: Design & Crafts 1965/66, Senior Assistant: General course 1966/67 - 1970/71, Senior Tutor: Design 1971/72 - 1974/75, Registrar 1975/76 - 1977/78

Name of creator


Biographical history

Mike Healey studied under John Cunningham at Keil School and later Glasgow School of Art, winning the Haldane Drawing Prize and the Post Graduate Leverhulme Travelling Scholarship. He is an Associate of Glasgow School of Art. In the early 1980s he taught at the School of Art and worked there until 1997. Mike travels extensively but his home and studio is in Southend, by Campbeltown, Argyllshire, on the Mull of Kintyre. Mike Healey was awarded, in permanence in 2004, the Professorship of Art and Design at the University of Lincoln, England.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Gordon Huntly was a member of staff at Glasgow School of Art from 1953-1976. During this time he held the following positions: Assistant: Commercial and Graphic Art (Lithography) 1953/54 - 1960/61; Assistant: Graphic Design 1961/62 - 1965/66; Senior Assistant: Graphic Design 1966/67 - 1968/69;  Principal Lecturer: Graphic Design 1969/70 - 1970/71;  Director of Studies: Graphic Design 1971/72 - 1974/75; Senior Lecturer in Charge: Design (Graphic Design) 1975/76.

Name of creator

(fl c1970s-)

Biographical history

Michael Moulder was Academic Registrar at The Glasgow School of Art in the 1970s.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Mark Fernand Severin (5 January 1906 at Ixelles, Belgium - 10 September 1987 at Uccle, Belgium) was a Belgian-born artist and graphic designer who lived in England for most of his life.Mark Severin was the son of Fernand Severin (1876–1931), a poet. Described as one of the most outstanding engravers of his generation, Mark Severin specialised in fine miniature work, including postage stamps and book illustrations. He made close to five hundred bookplates, of which a great number are on erotic subjects. He was also active as an advertisement designer in Great Britain, including posters for Imperial Airways and the London Underground. In 1935, Severin married Nina Holme, a children's book illustrator, daughter of Charles Geoffrey Holme, editor of The Studio, an illustrated fine arts and decorative arts magazine founded and, until 1919, edited by his father, Charles Holme. Mark and Nina had two sons: Erik and Geoffrey.

Name of creator

(1931 -)

Biographical history

Peter Sumsion was a first year tutor at GSA for 12 years.

Name of creator

(fl c1970s-15 Feb 2002)

Biographical history

Colin Wilson studied Drawing and Painting at GSA in the 1970s. He designed the poster and programme for the 1978 fashion show, and was also an usher at the show. He was awarded a scholarship for postgraduate study in session 1976-77.
Colin did a post-graduate qualification in wood engraving then taught in the Textile Department at GSA before working in the Graphics Department at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. He worked latterly as an artist in a studio in Ruthven Lane, where he died in a fire in February 2002.

Archival history

Custodial history

Donated by Conrad McKenna in 2012 with accruals in 2016.

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Language of material

  • English
  • Italian

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  • Collection listed by K Wallwork and edited by Susannah Waters, Archivist. Imported from Excel spreadsheet, edited and administrative history added by Michelle Kaye, Archives and Collections Assistant, 20th November 2012. Archives Hub description updated by Michelle Kaye, Archives and Collections Assistant, 16th January 2013. Accruals catalogued by Emma Carey, Archives and Collections Volunteer, May 2016, and Abigail Jubb, Archives and Collections Volunteer, August 2016.
  • Catalogue imported into Archon software and edited by Michelle Kaye, Archon Project Officer, May 2014.
  • Catalogue exported from Archon and imported into AtoM during system migration, 2018-2019.


  • English



Archivist's note

Finding Aid Authors: The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections.

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