Impressive sculpture a reminder of Thenue’s proud city history
A stunning sculpture given to a housing association and carved from the red sandstone of one of Glasgow’s most iconic buildings is to go on show.
Thenue Housing Association was given the much-admired piece showing the mother of St Mungo – the city’s patron saint - 15 years ago and is now loaning it back to the sculptor who made it.
The impressive sculpture of St Thenue who was also known as St Enoch - from which the housing association takes its name – was created by well–known Glasgow sculptor Tom Allan.
Now for the first time since it was generously given to the housing association it has gone back to Tom in order that he can exhibit it at a forthcoming show in Glasgow.
The sculpture was carved, appropriately, from the sandstone of the former St Enoch Hotel which was a well known city landmark overlooking St Enoch Square.
It was opened in 1876 for the City of Glasgow Union Railway Company next to St Enoch Railway station but was demolished along with the station in 1977 which is when Tom made the sculpture. The St Enoch shopping centre which now occupies its place opened later in the 1980s.
The association said it was “delighted” to be loaning the piece back to Tom and was sure it would be much admired by many Glaswegians who will get to see it for the first time.
For the last 15 years it has been given pride of place in the housing association’s registered office in London Road, Calton. It was donated by Tom to the housing association to mark the 21st anniversary in 2000.
Thenue chief executive Charlie Turner explained: “We are delighted to be loaning the sculpture of St Thenue to Tom in order that it can be seen by a much wider audience when it goes on show.
“The sculpture of St Thenue is a reminder to us of our proud connection to Glasgow and the very fact that it is carved from the now-demolished St Enoch Hotel which was St Thenue’s other name makes it all the more special.”
Tom Allan has been making sculpture since 1977. He trained at Glasgow School of Art and in Carrara, Italy. He works at his studio in Gartcosh, near Glasgow, and in Carrara. He also teaches stone sculpture classes.
A regular exhibitor and prizewinner at the Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Glasgow Institute, Visual Arts Scotland, and Paisley Art Institute, Tom’s work is in public and private collections in Britain, Europe, Australia and the Americas. Tom regularly teaches stone sculpture at his studio.
Tom said: “I wanted to include Thenue in this exhibition because it was my first Glasgow piece, and the first time a building gave me an idea for a sculpture. The façade of the Hotel as it was being demolished suggested a mask, which became the strong face of the ancient British heroine and saint. It is a source of great pleasure to me that it now belongs to such a thriving element of Glasgow’s community.”
The exhibit will be part of “See Glasgow? - See Sculpture!” which will take place at the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts Kelly Gallery, 118 Douglas Street from October 6 to 17.