The splendid flat of Jack McLean resonates with the glamour of a bygone age. Standing outside on the sweeping terrace, one can almost hear the swish of a water-silk bustle or the clatter of nailed shoes from a Hansom cab, as one looks up through

the wrought-iron balustrades to the statues which sit like caryatids above the lintels

of the doors.

''It caused some consternation in 1894 as the architect carved his friends' faces on to them,'' Jack explains in a gravelled voice seasoned by too many cigarettes.

It is a mild disappointment to me that the ring of the Victorian doorbell draws to the doorway not a liveried butler but the writer himself. Columnist, broadcaster, artist, bon viveur and raconteur, Jack has lived in his home on the south side of Glasgow for 15 years. It is a dream come true for the covetous eye of a little boy who used to look up at the house as a child.

''This house means a hell of a lot to me. When I was a kid, myself and my two brothers used to pass this terrace on the trolley and I always wanted to live here,'' he says.

''It fell into such disuse that they were thinking of knocking it down, but luckily it was a listed building. I put in a bid for eight flats here and, thank God, I was finally successful on one.''

It may now resemble a setting from The House of Mirth but when Jack moved in things were in disarray.

''I had to do an incredible amount of work on it. I was the first tenant to have moved in to the terrace after the refurbishment. I still have the inventory from the previous owner of the whole house, Thomas Forsyth Esq, a gentleman who lived here in the 1920s. His house contents were insured for (pounds) 4871 and 40 shillings.''

In a city that is divided not only by religion but by a river, with boho-loving west-enders lording over what they see as stale, prosaic south siders, Jack is the finest ambassador the area could have.

''The thing I like about the south side is that it has bigger skies and more greenery than anywhere else in Glasgow. People just

don't seem to realise that the suburbs in the south side are more grand, but somehow also more comfortable.''

This is a thought reinforced by the view from Jack's bay window of Queen's Park with its cherry trees bursting into bloom. The view no doubt also inspired one of the house's

earlier inhabitants, the painter John Lavery.

Jack says: ''I've always loved Lavery's painting, The Tennis Party. It hangs in Aberdeen Art Gallery, but I like to keep a

little card of it propped up on my mantelpiece.''

Art is obviously very important to Jack. The walls of his one-bedroomed home

show off a collection he has built up slowly over the years. The artworks provide an eclectic gallery.

A Henry Moore sketch hangs beside paintings by John Kingsley, Louise Ritchie, Jimmy Robertson, Ann Mendelow, aqua tints, etchings and bronzes, and an exquisite Orkney granite-and-brass sculpture, which Jack's ''essential'' whisky decanter rests on. ''Although as an illustrator I did very

realistic work, I'm drawn to abstracts -

many are presents for doing the blurb on the artist's catalogue,'' he says.

Living with art like this on a daily basis, it would be easy to assume that it would eventually blend into the walls like a nicotine stain, but not for Jack. ''I look at my paintings every morning. They all have different meanings for me - unfortunately, reduced circumstances have forced me to sell some pieces.''

The backdrop to Jack's artworks, his flat's interior, can be summed up as blue. In fact, were I to pick a soundtrack for the house it would be Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. However, it does not appear depressing. The hallway is a deep lapis lazuli and is papered with lincrusta, an embossed mix of putty and wallpaper which was popular in the 1900s. There are also blue-checked

curtains, and a delicately-patterned blue hall carpet leads into the

lounge, giving way to wooden floors and an exotic Persian rug, which is 120 years old.

The blue theme continues on entering the lounge, which has blue sofas, as well as the intricate blue swathes which form a sculpture by lauded American painter Todd Garner.

Like most artists, Jack has a knack for grouping objects to form interesting decorative nooks throughout the flat. Each table and surface is a veritable treasure trove.

Looking around, there is almost too much to mention: a sculpture of an Italian greyhound, a Mexican mask, a Limoges ashtray, a piece of Bizarre by Clarice Cliff, silver quaichs, pottery fish, tortoises, crystals, toy soldiers and fob watches, all artfully placed. ''All the bits have meaning for me. I love agates - I trained under Alan Alexander, the silhouette painter at Edinburgh - and these are exactly the kind of thing he'd put together and, in a way, putting things like this together saves you from painting it; you've already made your still life,'' Jack says.

Equally fascinating is a group of not quite such disparate objects: a yarmulke (Jewish skull cap), a statue of Jesus, a neon flashing Virgin Mary and an antique copy of Fox's book of Catholic Martyrs, as well as a bookcase stuffed with books on theology. This interesting melange can be put down to family history and the passionate notions that Jack regularly succumbs to. ''I take up enthusiasms which can last for two or three years.''

Within the window of the dining room hangs a portrait of Jack, made up in stained glass. ''It was made by an ex-miner, John Longbottom. I never met him; he wrote to The Herald and asked for a picture and then the portrait arrived through the post,'' he says.

Just behind the mahogany dining table sits a cabinet, again full of objets trouves, tea cups in dark blues and golds that Madame de Pompadour would be happy to sip from, his mother's christening cup, more books and a mikado hat which is the partner to Jack's dressing gown, a very Jason King black satin dressing gown embroidered with Chinese dragons.

''Yes,'' he says laughing, ''it's horrific; the worst thing in the house.''

The walls of the dining room, which are painted purple, just a shade off blue, are

littered with photographs: Jack out shooting; Jack at a folk festival; Jack at Heraghty's bar, with Lisbon Lion Jimmy Johnstone; and a picture of a his father, ''a very dapper man''.

On the table sits a piece of hand-painted Cornish pottery juxtaposed with the

model of a Second World War plane. ''My brother is a modellist; he makes the planes look exactly as they were with mud and

bullet holes.''

Gallery invites are propped up throughout the flat, which explains why the television which Jack recently succumbed to is rarely switched on, except to watch reruns of his favourite movie.

''For 18 years I had no TV, then I bought one at Christmas, but the only time it's on is to play over again and again The Searchers with John Wayne.'' It is a fitting backdrop for the Duke to rest in.