Allan McLean (1851 – 1928)

In the minutes[1] of the Corporation of Glasgow from November 1927 – April 1928  the following note concerning our donor Allan McLean was included. There was submitted a letter of date 6th ultimo, from Messers, R& J M Hill Brown & Co. Intimating on behalf of the trustees and executors of their late partner Mr Allan McLean that the deceased had by his testamentary writings made a bequest for the Corp. of the following pictures & Bronzes, which was agreed to accept upon the terms and conditions in the deceased’s settlement, viz.:

The person that the letter was about was our donor Mr Allan McLean and the donations that he made to Kelvingrove Gallery. Three of these paintings from his bequest are:

1) The Wood Nymph (oil) by William Stott of Oldham;

2) The Hudson River (oil) and 3) St. Ives, Cornwall  (oil) both by T.Millie Dow.

These are shown below.

Stott, William, 1857-1900; The Nymph
Figure 1. The Wood Nymph. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (www.artuk.org)

 

Dow, Thomas Millie, 1848-1919; The Hudson River
Figure 2. The Hudson River. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (www.artuk.org)

 

Dow, Thomas Millie, 1848-1919; St Ives, Cornwall
Figure 3. St Ives, Cornwall. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (www.artuk.org).

Our donor’s Life 

Allan McLean was born in 1851[2] and his parents were Mr Allan McLean, a property owner and slater and his mother Margaret McLean, nee Finlayson. He was a Lawyer by profession. In 1884, he married Miss Mary Millie Dow[3] , who also came from a family of lawyers. Mary was the sister of Thomas Millie Dow.

Allan McLean had bequeathed to the Kelvingrove Gallery a very interesting and valuable collection of art effects on his death. Although he was always interested in art, after his marriage to Mary Millie Dow and finding himself in the company of artists thorough his brother-in-law and his artist friends made him much more interested in art. Therefore, it is important to mention something about Thomas Millie Dow and his artistic life at this juncture, as someone who may have influenced Allan McLean.

Thomas Millie Dow was born 28 October 1848 at Dysart, Fife, a son of the town clerk and destined to a career in law, which he studied in Edinburgh and was expected to follow his father and brother into the family law firm in Kirkcaldy. But he did not complete his apprenticeship and deciding against a career in law, Dow left Scotland and went to Paris in 1877 and enrolled for classes at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts under Jean-Léon Gérôme. Later, in 1879 he registered with the ateliers of Rudolphe Julien and Carolus Duran. Of his earlier instruction in painting and drawing little is known except for the encouragement he received from his uncle Alexander Millie who was an amateur artist[4]. 

Two young men among the many British and American students registered for classes in Paris in the late 1870s became Dow’s particular friends. They were the Englishman William Stott of Oldham and the American Abbott Handerson Thayer. Both men were to remain important figures in Dow’s personal and professional life and, as both had strong personalities and strong ideas about art, they came to exert a considerable influence over the artistic choices he made. Among other friends studying in Paris at the time were the Glasgow-based artists John Lavery, Alexander Roche, James Paterson and Alexander Mann[5]. Thomas Millie Dow was later to be known as one of the Glasgow Boys. But he was not a Glaswegian just like Lavery and some others.

Our donor Allan McLean and his wife Mary Millie(Dow) McLean lived at:   2 Lorraine Gardens, Glasgow with 2 servants (cook and housemaid)[6]. He was a solicitor and partner with the Glasgow law firm R&JM Hill Brown & Co. and stayed with the firm until his death in 1928[7].

From his youth he had an interest in art. His marriage to Mary Millie Dow, who was a member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts[8] and a sister of the artist Thomas Millie Dow (one of the Glasgow Boys), introduced him to artistic circles. He was also a friend of the artist William York MacGregor[9] (also a Glasgow Boy).

Together with his wife, Allan McLean paid regular visits to the Continent and visited the principal galleries and exhibitions. During his life, he gathered a considerable collection of pictures and books on the history of art[10]. From the year 1896 until his death, Allan McLean acted as secretary of the Incorporated Old Man’s Friend Society and Old Women’s Home, and devoted a great deal of time and attention to the affairs of the Institution[11].

For some time before her death, Mrs McLean was in bad health and her husband took care of her during her illness abandoning most of his outside interests. Her death ended a very happy marriage[12]. 

The following information, which was found in relevant documents, relates to milestones in Allan McLean’s career and they are displayed below in chronological order:

From the Scottish Law List (directory of law agents) [13]

  • He was apprenticed on 1st December 1872, at the age of 21, and started on a monthly wage of £6.
  • He was described as affable, charming and meticulous. He drafted documents “very carefully” and in what could be considered longwinded by today’s standards.
  • In 1880 he was assumed partner.
  • In 1881 (firm R & JM Hill Brown & Co) where he was listed as having qualified lawyer in 1874.
  • Last entry 1928 (firm still listed as R & JM Hill Brown & Co).
  • Admitted as a member of the Faculty of Procurators 18th November 1887 and he was a member until his death on 30th January 1928.

The following were found in the Faculty of Procurators Council Minutes[14].

  • Served on the Library Committee 1905-1909.
  • Appointed as a member of the Glasgow Register of Public Streets Committee 1907.
  • Elected as a Council member 9th June 1910 (served on the Council until 5th June 1913).
  • Appointed as a Trustee to the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow Infirmary Trust 7th December 1916.
  • In 1896 he became the Honorary Secretary to the Incorporated Glasgow Old Men’s Friendly Society and Old Woman’s Home.

Between 1885-87, Thomas Millie Dow (Mary Millie Dow’s brother) stayed with the McLeans. Mary is thought to be the model for Lady in Black (by Thomas Millie Dow) which is in a private collection. At that time Thomas shared a studio with William York McGregor[15].

Allan McLean died at home at 2 Lorraine Gardens on 30th January 1928. He had no children[16,17]. 

Acknowledgements

The author would like to express her thanks to John McKenzie, Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow for his help.

References:

[1] Corp. of Glasgow from November 1927 – April 1928. Vol. C1/3/28, Page 987 (parks). 2nd March 1928, 1927-1926, Vol.11, Mitchell Library Archives.

[2] 1901 Census; Scotlands People Archives:

https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[3] ibid. Marriage Certificate Scotlands People Archives1884.

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Millie_Dow

[5] ibid.

[6] op.cit. 1901 Census.

[7] Archives of Glasgow Herald of 1st February 1928; Death Notice p.1; Obituary p.13.

[8] Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts Records, Mitchell Library Archives.

[9] op.cit.  Wikipedia-Thomas_Millie_Dow.

[10] op.cit. Archives of Glasgow Herald.

[11] ibid.

[12] Death Cert. Mary Millie Dow in1926; Scotlands People Archives.

[13] Private correspondence John McKenzie, Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow.

[14] ibid.

[15] op.cit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Millie_Dow

[16] op.cit. Archives of Glasgow Herald.

[17] The death certificate of Mr. Allan McLean, Scotlands People Archives, https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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