Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Boucher & Cousland
(fl. 1855-91)

James Boucher (1832-1906) and James Cousland (c. 1832-66) trained with Charles Wilson , and set up their own practice in 1855, at 5 Bath Street. After Cousland's death, Boucher moved to 247 St. Vincent Street and later formed a brief partnership there with Henry Higgins, 1890-91, before retiring.

The firm's early work included a number of country villas in the popular Italianate, Tudor and 'Villa Rustica' Styles, e.g., Balclutha, near Greenock (1861); Ascog, Bute (c.1861) and the villa at Coulport for John Kibble (1861), whose conservatory (by Cousland) was enlarged and re-erected in Glasgow's Botanic Gardens as the Kibble Palace (1871-3).

They also designed commercial buildings and warehouses in Glasgow for their commuting country clients, each distinguished by their elegant Italianate and French Renaissance details.

These include John Black & Co's warehouse, 66-70 Gordon Street, now Forsyth's (1858, altered 1905); Teacher's Building, 18-20 St. Enoch Square (1875); 223-9 Miller Street (1875) and 79 Nelson Mandela Place, which has identical facades at its front and rear, and which also features four free-standing griffins as part of its elaborate decoration (1875).

The architects also produced one of the earliest cast iron fašades in the city, Kemp's Warehouse (now Fraser's), 53 Buchanan Street (1854).

Boucher was closely involved with the iron-master Walter Macfarlane , designing his foundries at Washington Street (c.1860, dem.) and Hawthorn Street (1868-70, dem.), and many of their patterns for ornamental fountains, railings and architectural crestings, as well as the cast iron frontage of Richmond House, Linfern Road (1858, dem. 1966).

In 1872-5, Boucher devised the scheme for the sumptuously stuccoed and sculptured interiors of Macfarlanes own house, 22 Park Circus (now GCC Marriage Registry Suites).

Also in the West End, they designed the domestic 1, 3 and 4 Sydenham Road (c. 1865); Redland's House, Lancaster Crescent (c. 1871) and the villa Carlson for James Marshall, the partner of Walter Macfarlane, at 998 Great Western Road (1877).

Carlson once had a splendid cast iron conservatory built by Walter Macfarlane's Saracen Foundry, but this has long since vanished.

Also vanished are Boucher & Cousland's finest churches in the city. These included St. George's Free Church, 137 Elderslie Street (1864-5, dem. 1958) and Renfield Free Church, 291-311 Bath Street (1857, dem. 1966).

Tighnabruich Parish Church (1863) survives as an example of their ecclesiastical work outwith the city, and The Greenock Club, Greenock (1867-9) is typical of their best work in the Italian palazzo style.

The firm exhibited several of their architectural drawings at the RGIFA , 1861-71.

Boucher and Cousland lived next door to each other at Swiss Cottage and Swiss Villa, 35-37 St. Andrew's Drive, which they designed for themselves (c. 1859).

Cousland is said to have died after a fatal accident at one of the firm's construction sites. He died on 12 June, 1868.

He was buried in the Southern Necropolis in the Gorbals, where his grave is marked by a tall, granite obelisk erected by his friends.


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