Item NMC/0321B - Design for a colonial parliament house

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Key Information

Reference code



Design for a colonial parliament house


  • 1908-1909 (Creation)

Level of description



2 of 2

Content and Structure

Scope and content

Garden plan for a Colonial Parliament house.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Richard 'Richie' McLeod Morrison Gunn was born on 1 June 1889 in England, the son of Archibald Reid Gunn, physician and his wife Emily Parry: the painter Sir (Herbert) James Gunn was his younger brother, born 1893. Richard studied at Glasgow School of Art from the age of eleven in 1900-02. He was articled to Henry Edward Clifford in Glasgow c.1904-09, winning the Tite Prize in the latter year and spending some months in travel: Eugène Bourdon advised him to go to the USA, where he spent some time in a New York office. During this period he also studied at the Glasgow School of Architecture, from 1905 to 1910. His RIAS Quarterly obituary does not say where he spent the next year or two although W T Johnston indicates Burnet's office (probably the Glasgow one). However, he joined the office of James Miller in 1910 or 1911, and whilst assisting there he appears to have been involved in the design of Miller's Cranston's Picture House and Tea Room, which is very much in his style. He remained with Miller until he was called up for military service during the First World War. Whilst on war service he was badly gassed, resulting in poor health for the rest of his life thereafter. He re-joined Miller's office as chief assistant in 1918 and remained there until his sudden death of nephritis on 16 October 1933 at his house at 22 Clouston Street. He was survived by his wife Margaret Mary Wood Hemstock and three children. Gunn never had any interest in setting up on his own to run a small practice. Miller's connections provided the opportunities for large-scale design that were his forte and consequently Gunn never troubled himself with the qualifying exam or membership to the RIBA. In his RIAS Quarterly obituary, Miller described him as 'a brilliant and rapid draughtsman; in his design he was scholarly and refined, while his knowledge of the practical side of the profession was such as is possessed by few … He loved his work and took no end of pains with any subject he had to deal with, to achieve the best results down to the imminent detail.' Gunn was a master of American commercial classicism and his designs for Miller had a profound effect on the work of his Glasgow contemporaries. Although Miller observed of him that 'he had a quiet and lovable disposition with a keen sense of humour', James A Carrick who was in the office at the time said of them that 'although they worked so well together, there was no warmth at all between them, no relationship other than employer and employed.' Gunn left a widow, Margaret Hemstock (perhaps a relative of Albert Hodge) and three children, the eldest of whom, Gordon (b.1916) received a bursary to study architecture at the Royal Technical College but became a chartered surveyor. He became better known as a watercolourist, exhibiting in London from 1957.

Archival history

Exhibited: Paris, 1914?

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Physical Description

pencil, ink and watercolour on paper

Dimensions: 567 x 767 mm

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Administrative Information

Description identifier

GB 1694 NMC/0321B

Institution identifier

GB 1694

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ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description - Second edition


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