Statues feared lost in art school fire

Work is ongoing to determine the structural integrity of the Mackintosh Building. Picture: Police Scotland
Work is ongoing to determine the structural integrity of the Mackintosh Building. Picture: Police Scotland
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Statues that inspired generations of artists who passed through Glasgow School of Art are among those artefacts feared lost in the fire which has devastated the institution’s Mackintosh Building.

The plaster casts of famous works, including Donatello’s St George, and Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, survived the 2014 which caused widespread damage to the building, but the blaze which broke out a week ago today was even more severe.

A spokeswoman for the school confirmed that some of the casts were in the Mackintosh Building, but said it was too early to determine what has been lost in the fire, with work ongoing to establish the structural integrity of the A-listed building itself.

While some of the plaster figures, friezes and busts were moved into storage and the school’s nearby Reid Building, others remained in situ, in part because they were considered too fragile to be removed.

The statues have been a familiar presence in the Mackintosh Building’s corridors and classrooms for more than a century.

It comes as experts have urged the public to stay away from the gutted Mackintosh Building over fears parts of it could collapse “without warning.”

An area surrounding the structure has been sealed, but there have been reports of people breaching the cordon, raising safety concerns.

Glasgow City Council’s head of building control, Raymond Barlow, said: “I fully understand people’s desire to get back into their property and if we could safely do anything to facilitate that then we would.

“However surveys in recent days have shown us that the West and East elevations remain of significant concern.

“This means that there is a risk that parts of the building might fall into Scott Street or Dalhousie Street. This could happen without warning.”