A RARE edition of the poems of Keats has been given to the library of the Glasgow School of Art.


The edition, from 1898, has been given to the school, which lost much of its collection in a disastrous fire last May, by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

The cover design of John Keats - His Poems, gilt-tooled in Glasgow School style, was created by GSA teacher and designer, Ann Macbeth.

The book was formally presented to GSA Librarian, Jennifer Higgins, by the President of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, Brian Lake.

Mr Lake said: "The ABA is very pleased to donate the poems of Keats, in a binding designed by Ann Macbeth, who was a student and teacher at The Glasgow School of Art.

"When the purchase was suggested by Cooper Hay, the Glasgow rare book dealer, it seemed an entirely appropriate contribution to the rebuilding of the Library and, we hope, an encouragement to other booksellers and collectors to make their own contributions of suitable books and bindings as he School of Art rises from the ashes."

Following the fire, in which the GSA lost around 20 per cent of its rare book collection, a priority replacement list was compiled.

Around 25 per cent of the list has already been donated by individuals and institutions from across the world.

Ann Macbeth was born in Bolton in 1875 and was a student and teacher at The Glasgow School of from 1897-1929.

The GSA knows from the student records held within the school's Archives & Collections that her father's occupation was that of engineer.

Before 1902 her occupation is given in the student registers as either "Art Student" or "Designer".

From the session 1902-3 her occupation is listed as that of "Teacher", but she still appears in the student registers because she continued to advance her formal education through the attendance of classes at the school.

In 1902 she was appointed to the position of Assistant Mistress, teaching courses in needlework, embroidery and applique, in the Design and Decorative Art Section.

She continued to teach in The Glasgow School of Art until her retirement in 1929.

Ms Higgins said the school was thrilled by the donation.

She added: "The presentation of a stunning Art Nouveau binding by Ann Macbeth is particularly poignant, for Macbeth would have known the Library well during her time as both a student and teacher at the GSA from 1897 onwards.

"It is a superbly rare example of her work and of the Glasgow Style that is so synonymous with the School."