We were delighted, in December, to receive a generous donation from Ruth I Johns who was the daughter of Gilbert Thomas; a lifelong friend of W.J Bassett-Lowke (patron of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and former owner of 78 Derngate). Mr Thomas, fittingly, had an amazing model railway layout featuring several Bassett-Lowke items. He was also the author of a book entitled "Paddington to Seagood – The Story of a Model Railway" in which his friend W.J is featured. Pictured here are Mr and Mrs Ellison who kindly travelled, on behalf of Ms Johns, from their Derbyshire home to present a Bassett-Lowke passenger coach, guards’ van, coal shed building and track / buffer section to us. These great items are now on display at 78 Derngate and available for free public viewing.
Here's Rob Kendall, Chairman of The Friends of 78 Derngate and ace auction bidder, showing off our latest acquisition in its new home, the Guest Bedroom at 78 Derngate. The washbowl, very similar to the Bassett-Lowke original from 1916, is attributed to Joseph Maria Olbrich. Olbrich was a co-founder of the Viennese Secession and also designed the Secession Building on Friedrichstraße. Mackintosh exhibited in this very building in 1900. Thanks to a follower on Twitter we were alerted to its listing for auction at Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh, where Rob happily was also attending The Festival. The original Bassett-Lowke owned washbowl was displayed on the Mackintosh-designed washstand in the Guest Bedroom. The washstand and a ceramic pail, very similar in design to our new bowl are now in the collection of The Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow along with the original suite of bedroom furniture. Visitors to 78 Derngate will be able to see the new bowl on display in the house from 17th August 2014. Further information can be seen on our Facebook page.