GSA Image Chosen For Sturgeon Card

A festive design which survived the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) fire has been chosen as the First Minister's official festive greetings card this year.

The winter scene was produced in the 1970s by the late Phyllis Dodd and was part of a series of GSA Christmas card images which survived May's devastating blaze.

The image was housed safely in the GSA archives and has been brought back to life as Nicola Sturgeon's official Christmas card for 2014.

For the first time, the First Minister's card will go on public sale ahead of next Christmas to raise funds for charity, including the Mackintosh restoration appeal.

Alex Salmond previously commissioned an artwork which was sold at auction for good causes.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I am delighted to bring back to life this Christmas card, beautifully designed by Phyllis Dodd.

"It is a lovely wintry image that adorned the front of a Christmas card at the art school many years ago.

"Christmas is a time for reflection and this year has been an unforgettable one for all those who have studied, worked or had a connection to this world-leading school of art.

"The fire was a devastating loss, not only for this year's students but for the many who have in some way been inspired or moved by the magic of one of Scotland's greatest artists - Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

"While some artefacts and pieces will sadly never be recovered or replaced, I felt that it was appropriate to demonstrate that there is still hope when some small historical pieces as beautiful as this have survived and can now be enjoyed by many people this Christmas.''

Dodd (1899 - 1995) was the wife of former GSA director Douglas Percy Bliss and the winter image is taken from a series of GSA Christmas cards collected over 60 years by former student and lecturer Conrad Mckenna, who attended today's launch.

The artwork was originally a Christmas card painted by Phyllis and given to GSA staff by her and her husband.

Mr Mckenna's collection is held in the GSA archives department that survived the fire but the iconic Mackintosh Library and much of the students' work was destroyed.

The Phoenix Bursary programme was set up to fund a 15-week placement for students affected by the blaze while painstaking work goes on to restore the renowned building.

The First Minister said she "immediately'' thought of the school when tasked with selecting a Christmas card image weeks into the role and went on to choose the snowy scene by Dodd.

She said: "It seemed to me to symbolise the whole spirit of restoration that now surrounds the Glasgow School of Art, with so much being done to restore it to its former glory.

"To take this card which survived the fire and give it a new lease of life seemed to me the perfect thing to do.''

Describing her tour of the fire-ravaged building today, she said: "It was quite emotional. I had some conflicting emotions.

"When I went into the library, that is a heartbreaking sight - that wonderful architecture, all these books, completely destroyed.

"But then there is such a feeling of positivity from the people who are working in the Mackintosh building. Everybody feels very confident that it is going to be restored to its former glory.''

GSA director Professor Tom Inns said: "We are delighted that the Scottish Government has selected an image from Glasgow School of Art archives and collections for its 2014 Christmas Card.''

The card will go on sale next year in aid of The Mackintosh Appeal, The Catherine McEwan Foundation, Yorkhill Children's Charity, Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance and Legion Scotland.

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