Adrian Searle and David Barbour - Look Up Glasgow (3 stars)

A book befitting the beauty of Glasgow's under-appreciated skyline

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Adrian Searle and David Barbour - Look Up Glasgow

(Freight Books)

This inventive book looks not at the buildings that have defined Glasgow’s enviable architectural heritage but at the detail contained within them, or to be more accurate, atop them. Writer Adrian Searle and photographer David Barbour have teamed up to produce a beautifully crafted guide to the Victorian artwork fashioned into the stone above our heads.

It is an eye opener to say the least – or perhaps neck strainer is more fitting. While many of the city's better-known landmarks, such as the Mitchell Library and Kelvingrove Museum, are included, it is the lesser known of the 176 buildings featured that captivate, from Parkhead Library in the east to Langside Halls in the south.

Searle's research is meticulous, his captivating references full of historical and anecdotal information, while Barbour’s photography fully captures the wonder of the designs. The book itself is assembled as a coffee table tome with page after page of stunning imagery. There is a certain frustration with the structure of the layout however, with some references coming over 100 pages after the photographs, which leads to a lot of flipping back and forth. Interspersed among the photography are a number of poems celebrating Glasgow; Graham Fulton's ‘The Details’ standing out for its boldness and clear love of the city’s buildings. A book befitting the beauty of Glasgow's under-appreciated skyline.

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