The Glasgow School of Art was founded in 1845 as a Government School of Design. It was one of twenty similar institutions established in the United Kingdom’s manufacturing centres between 1837 and 1851, aiming to improve the quality of the country’s product design through a system of education that provided training in design for industry.
The Glasgow Government School of Design was originally managed, as were the other Government Schools, by the Board of Trade and a Committee of Management representing local subscribers. Then, in 1852, the Government Schools of Design were taken over by the Department of Practical Art. This Department was renamed the Department of Science and Art in 1853 and was located in South Kensington, London. The Department centrally distributed many of the resources required by the School’s under its charge.
Thus many of the older and rarer books in GSA Library contain bookplates from the Department of Science and Art, noting the deposit of these books with the Glasgow School of Art. In stating the date of deposit they provide us with useful information on when individual titles entered our collections, and can therefore shed light on the curriculum of the time and the subjects being taught.
One such book however recently caught our attention for its unexpected humour. The date of deposit (1 December 1881) is followed by a stipulated date of return: The Last Judgement! Happily, since this book is yet to be recalled we can rest assured that the end of the world is not going to happen quite yet.