One of Scotland's most prominent painters has called for Scottish Government intervention in the reinstatement of the Mack, describing the inertia over the project as "the most painful scandal in the recent history of Scotland's cultural heritage".

Lachlan Goudie, whose popular four-part TV series, A Story of Scottish Art, led to the publication of a book of the same name says the inaction over the rebuild of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s architectural masterpiece is a "source of civic and national shame".

And he indicated that the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) should be removed from total responsibility for the resurrection of one of Scotland's most renowned landmarks.

In June 15, 2018, the Mack went up in flames, marking the second time in four years that the institution had been ravaged by fire, with the Grade-A listed building having suffered extensive damage in a 2014 blaze.

That fire destroyed the library in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building, one of the world’s finest examples of art nouveau.

Mr Goudie welcomed the Herald's examination of what is happening with the Mack.

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"It is really really important that the Herald are covering this story in some depth, he said.

"It is the most painful scandal, I think, in recent history of Scotland's cultural heritage, that this absolutely extraordinary and globally important masterpiece of architecture has been allowed to fester as a crumbled ruin for so long.

"It's a source of civic and national shame, and I despair at the lack of joined up collaboration between institutions, the Glasgow School of Art, funding bodies, the Scottish Government and cultural networks to make this feel urgent. It is so urgent.

"We have pressures on our budgets and on our political structures that are appalling. And in that kind of climate it is easy to dismiss a ruined building as the bottom of the priority list.

"But the Glasgow School of Art was at the very heart and soul of Glasgow's identity and the city and the School of Art were custodians of a masterpiece that resonated across the globe and turned the attention of people who might not have thought of Glasgow as a place worth visiting as an absolute treasure trove of artistry and architectural brilliance.

READ MORE: 'A scandal': 19 months of 'inertia' over the rebuild of a Scottish national treasure

"I don't know what is going on at the GSA. It seems to be completely opaque. It seems to be in a world that is not always every clear about their intentions or their sources of their funding for the project.

The Herald:

"I heard one story after another that leads you to despair at their managerial capabilities.

"But the one thing that really galls me is the absolute lack of political intervention. It is as if the Scottish Government think it is far too toxic to involve themselves in questions of culture and the nation's cultural legacy. I haven't heard anything. It makes me so furious.

"I can assure you, I give talks about Scottish art across the country, across the UK and I was giving a talk in [Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire] the other week, and every one of these talks when I get to the point where I discuss the GSA and the continuing inertia, the whole room erupts into spontaneous either applause or support or vociferous concern of what is happening.

"It isn't just a Glasgow problem, it is an international piece of artistry. I find it so wrong that Notre Dame has been resurrected and the GSA sits in torpor."

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was severely damaged by a blaze on April 15, 2019 nearly a year after the Mack inferno is scheduled to reopen at the end of this year.

"The GSA is an opportunity for Glasgow to nurture talent, craftsmanship, skills and artistry that have been forgotten and neglected and to create a new Mack which would be a mirror of what was there. We will be judged by our ability to match the genius of Mackintosh," Mr Goudie added.

"The idea that we just say it has gone, is just not acceptable. It is a failing in our imagination, our passion, our romanticism and our sense of restoring some of the soul back to Glasgow. "The School of Art should be there for eternity. It burnt down for the second time. I know the craftsmanship that was involved in restoring originally after the first fire elements of the library and other parts of the building was said to have been exquisite. We can match this again. We can rebuild this building. It should become a national project."

The Herald:

The 48-year-old broadcaster and author's father Alexander was a prestigious figurative painter, having studied at the Glasgow School of Art under William Armour, David Donaldson, and Benno Schotz and was awarded the Somerville Shanks Prize for Composition. For many years his father was a tutor at the school, before dedicating himself to his own studio work.

"In every single tier of government, people should be poked and told 'why are you not talking about this'. Glasgow matters and architecture is at the heart of the city's identity," he said.

Glasgow School of Art fires: read the series in full here

"In my opinion, the ins and outs of how we got to this point, is history now. What matters to me is who puts down the first brick. And we have to move forward.

"There is obviously an enormous amount of frustration but also an extraordinary feeling of nostalgia, warmth and empathy for the whole history and legacy of that building and a willingness to help in some way.

"People struggle with the structure that has been in place as a collaborator in that process.

"You can't totally remove the project from the hands of the GSA, but surely there is some attempt that can be made to create a collaborative body that would be able to take advantage of the good will that exists within the artistic community and who would be supported in finances and money.

"It is not something that is legally possible [to take it out the hands of the School of Art management] but there is no doubt that they have hardly covered themselves in glory. Normally on a broader level when work is not managed properly there is recourse for changing the structure or the basis on which the whole system is operating.

"I have not been contacted by the GSA, I've never heard of any appeal, I haven't been asked for assistance to raise the profile of the project or speak in favour of it.

The Herald:

"Most artists who I know who have been graduates of the School of Art say the same thing.

"I do think one of the things that really matters in how we move forward is to sort of nurture a sense of positivity and optimism despite where we find ourselves and to also try and encourage people who might think this is unimportant, to realise how valuable this is to the future of Glasgow as a cultural and economic machine.

"The more time that passes with that hole in the ground, the older the graduates of the School of Art get, the more people that pop their clogs who taught there, the easier it becomes to say 'let's just build a half cut replacement, or whatever'.

The GSA say that they "understand the sense of concern from many people" and do not believe it is fair to compare progress to what has happened with Notre Dame.

The art school says they remain committed to the faithful reinstatement of the Mack.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government has welcomed The Glasgow School of Art’s plans for a faithful reinstatement of the Mackintosh building.

“The Mackintosh Building is owned by The Glasgow School of Art (GSA), which is an autonomous body with responsibility for its own strategic and operational decision making."

Ministers say they and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) continue to "engage closely" with the GSA at senior management and board level on "institutional governance, its plans for the delivery of high quality education, and GSA’s decision making regarding the rebuild of the Mackintosh".