Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Tennant & Burke
(fl. 1901-5)

Glasgow based architectural partnership formed between William Tennant (c. 1833-1915) and Frederick Vincent Burke (1873-1926).

William Tennant was born in Camelon, Sirlingshire, and trained with Robert Baldie (c. 1824-90), who offered him a partnership sometime around 1879.

Baldie & Tennant designed the severely plain, Gothic-style mission halls for James Hamilton’s now demolished Partick South Church (1885), but this was eclipsed in every way by the masterpiece which Tennant produced with his later partner, F V Burke, in 1902-4, for St. Columba’s Church, 300 St. Vincent Street.

Now The Gaelic Church, the sheer scale of the building, the richness of its sculpture, together with the height of its soaring steeple and spire, has earned St. Columba’s the nickname The Gaelic Cathedral.

A statue of St. Columba, by an unidentified sculptor, stands in a canopied niche supported by angels on the building’s tower.

Frederick Vincent Burke was born in Hutchesontown, Glasgow, studied at GSA , 1893-8, and then trained with William Tennant, who took him into partnership in 1901.

Four years later, the partnership was dissolved due to Burke’s alcoholism, a problem which eventually resulted in him being admitted to Dykebar Asylum, Paisley, where he died in 1926.

After their partnership ended in 1905, Tennant partnered Archibald MacDonald until c. 1910, and died five years later at the age of 81. .


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