Collection DC 120 - Papers and photographs of William Meldrum, artist, student at The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland

Drawing titled "Correspondence" Drawing of a manse Drawing of a woman hugging her knees Photograph of a bay view painting Photograph of Tollcross Park view painting Photograph of a stream view painting Photograph of the Cuillin Hills view painting Photograph of a country house painting Photograph of a country mansion painting Photograph of a painting featuring a boat on the river Tweed

Key Information

Reference code

DC 120


Papers and photographs of William Meldrum, artist, student at The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland


  • c1880s-1970s (Creation)

Level of description



40 items

Content and Structure

Scope and content

A number of sketches and photographs of works by William Meldrum. This collection includes figure and illustrative drawings, unique pieces made of seaweed, and a series of monochrome photographs featuring landscape paintings. Most of the items are undated however the dates of creation are presumed to fall between the 1880s and 1920s. A set of typewritten paper by an unknown author dated after 1966, features a brief biography of Meldrum and descriptions of two drawings along with their custodial histories.

William Meldrum tended to work on depicting city views of Glasgow in the early 20th century and landscapes of diverse areas in Scotland. He created multiple pieces of black-and-white photographs on which his paintings have been printed; some of the photographs have identical versions.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

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


System of arrangement

Material has been arranged into three subfonds by theme: artworks encompassing life and landscape drawings, photographs of artworks, and associated papers relating to William Meldrum.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

William Meldrum was the son of a designer and born in Glasgow in 1865. According to the registers of students, he studied at The Glasgow School of Art from 1883 to 1892, enrolling in September 1883 at the age of 18. His address is listed as 16 Mordaunt Street, Glasgow. However, there is no record of his attendance for 1888-1889, suggesting he may have temporarily left the school during that time. From 1885 to 1892, he possibly continued his learning by attending evening classes, as recorded with the repeated registration numbers "144" and "282" each for three years in his final two courses.

The primary subjects of Meldrum's artworks are city views of Glasgow and scenes of nature in Scotland, for which he usually created pencil drawings and watercolour paintings. His striking artistic feature is depicting diverse views with muted tones of blues and purples. Many of his watercolour paintings were later printed as black-and-white or sepia-toned photographs.

Besides, he befriended many of the Glasgow Boys and John Quinton Pringle because he studied with them at the GSA of the time and he also had his artistic endeavours rooted in Glasgow. In particular, he was close to Pringle as he recorded that Pringle used to devote three summer months and two hours every morning to complete "The Loom (1891)" of his paintings. Pringle also made a portrait of Meldrum around 1890; the portrait is exhibited in Kelvingrove.

In his later years of artistic activity, he created a few works using seaweed from the Scottish seas. He died in Glasgow in 1942, and the possession of a few of his works was passed by his will to his son, James Meldrum. Those artworks were later presented to Glasgow Corporation in 1966.

Archival history

Custodial history

Donated by John Purser, Jun 2022.

Physical Description and Conditions of Use

Conditions governing access

Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections are open for research by appointment. For further details, please refer to our Access Policy @

Conditions governing reproduction

Application for permission to reproduce should be submitted to The Archives and Collections at The Glasgow School of Art.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of material.

For further details, please refer to our Reprographic Service Guide @

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical Description

Finding aids

Related Material

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related materials

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)


People and Organisations

Genre access points


Level of detail

Processing information

Fonds level description compiled by Michelle Kaye, Collections Development Officer, Jun 2022.
Lower levels catalogued by Hyeonseo Heather Park, Work Placement Student, Apr 2024.


  • English



Archivist's note

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

Archivist's note

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Accession area