(1867 – 1933)
George Walton was born in Glasgow, the youngest of twelve children. His siblings include the artist (and Glasgow Boy) Edward Arthur and Glasgow Girl designers, Hannah, Helen and Constance. Changes to the family’s financial situation led George to take up a position as a Bank clerk and during this time he attended evening classes at the School of Art. However, in 1888 George took the momentous decision to leave the Bank and establish his own ecclesiastical and house decorating business, with his first commission for Miss Cranston’s Argyle Street Tea Room. Further commissions in the city followed, including leading the project for Miss Cranston’s Argyle Street Tea Rooms, interiors for William Burrell’s house and numerous other domestic and church interiors. He began to win commissions outside of Glasgow, including the decorative scheme for the Rowntree Tea Room in Scarborough and moved to London in 1898. He designed a series of shop interiors for Kodak in London and overseas. He also designed glass for James Couper’s Clutha range which was sold through Liberty, previously designed by Christopher Dresser. With a growing reputation, he moved into architecture, designing a number of houses. At the outbreak of World War Two he took up a position in Carlisle as assistant architect to the Central Liquor Traffic Control Board from 1916 to 1921 redesigning public houses and canteens. Between 1927 and 1930 he produced a series of designs for Morton Sundour Fabrics, most of which were never realised.
Walton was a versatile designer who worked over an extensive range of media including interior design, furniture, glass and stained glass, metalware, carpets, graphics, wallpaper, stencils and even architecture - in which he had no training or qualification. Despite his early successes, extensive output and established reputation, he struggled in his later years to gain work and similar success – perhaps due to the climate and to changing tastes and fashions. Today Walton is probably best known for his furniture and his Clutha glass, examples of which are on display at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. While he is associated as a Glasgow Style designer, his work is often more delicate in style and composition, perhaps more aligned to English Arts and Crafts.
Portrait of George Walton, (1867 - 1933), 923 by Sir William Oliphant Hutchison (Scottish 1889 - 1970)
Clutha glass vase with bulbous body and narrow neck, circa 1900. © CSG CIC
Oak, leather, ebony and bone beechcroft armchair, circa 1906. © CSG CIC
Polished iron and copper, circa 1903. One of a pair. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Stained glass and copper door panel for Miss Cranston's Argyle Street Tea Roms, circa 1897. © CSG CIC