Arts & Culture

Open-air gallery: murals go up in Ashton Lane in tribute to city’s industrial past

By Ian Marland at

It forms part of the social heart of the West End – with its bars, restaurants and buskers.

But now art is taking pride of place in Ashton Lane with an installation of Glaswegian artists – creating the city’s newest public gallery.

Three eight-foot artworks have been unveiled on the lane by landscape artist David Smith RSW, one of the featured painters.

Gallery: Bruce Finnie designed the murals for Ashton Lane. Photographs: © Martin Shields

Gallery: Bruce Finnie designed the murals for Ashton Lane. Photographs: © Martin Shields

The walk-through gallery is the idea of the Byres Road and Lanes Business Improvement District, the organisation behind the Visit West End campaign that aims to drive up trade in the area.

The hope is that the murals will bring art into the community and breathe life into Glasgow’s illustrious industrial past.

Bruce Finnie, owner of By Distinction Art, designed and curated the murals. He is also a board member of the Byres Road & Lanes BID.

He said: “Art is for everyone, and with the Ashton Lane artworks, our intention is to create a public gallery that showcases Glasgow.

Display: Pictured is artist David Smith RSW and his painting 'Salvage Bowling Harbour'. Photograph:  © Martin Shields

Display: Pictured is artist David Smith RSW and his painting ‘Salvage Bowling Harbour’. Photograph: © Martin Shields

“We couldn’t think of a better way to begin than with a tribute to Glasgow’s industrial heritage and the part the city and its people played.

“The pieces were commissioned this year, and each is individually striking and emotive and available for everyone to enjoy.”

The murals are situated on the long expanse wall of the lane as you enter the lane from Byres Road to brighten a blank facade.

They feature the Forth and Clyde canal, carpet manufacturing and ship building on the Clyde.

At eight-foot square, each mural has a curated timeline beside the painting to create a visual heritage walkthrough.

* David Smith captured ‘Salvage Bowling Harbour’ in plein air style to signify the importance of the role the canal played in connecting merchant trade routes in Scotland with the rest of the world.

* ‘Templeton on the Green’ by Adam Kennedy is an impressive architectural painting of the carpet manufacturer pioneer, James Templeton, who patented the chenille carpet marketing process, produced in this extraordinary factory on Glasgow Green designed by William Leiper

* ‘Pride of The Clyde’ by Ryan Mutter explores the connection between shipbuilding and the hardworking man.

Heritage: Visit West End breathe life into Glasgow's illustrious past with the unveiling of three, eight foot murals on Ashton Lane by local artists .Photograph by Martin Shields www.martinshields.com.

Heritage: Visit West End breathe life into Glasgow’s illustrious past with the unveiling of three, eight foot murals on Ashton Lane by local artists. Photograph by Martin Shields www.martinshields.com.

David Smith said: “It’s really inspiring to be involved in a project that is close to my heart and that brings art into everyday life.

“Bowling basin is one of my favourite places where I have been painting in plein air for many years.

“I hope when Glasgow discovers the murals in Ashton Lane they find them inspiring and rewarding.”

The murals are in place with the kind permission of Iceland and Ceres Developments.

David Howat, Chair of the Byres Road & Lanes BID, said: “We are delighted to be able to develop this new space for art in the West End.

“The initial idea came from the Byres Road Improvement Group, and the BID has enabled it to come to fruition.”

* For more information please visit www.visitwestend.com