The continuing need for cash, however, helped to propel the club towards a critical move - the admission of lay members, which in any case was in tune with Glasgow's awakening interest in the arts.
This proposal was strenuously resisted at first but by the mid-1880s the painter James Guthrie was among influential members arguing successfully for change and male lay members began to be admitted, although women had to wait until 1983.
To accommodate all the newcomers the club rented a new home at 151 Bath Street but this in turn was soon found to be cramped. It was time for Glasgow Art Club to buy its home.
Two adjacent town houses were bought in Bath Street. John Keppie, already a member of the club, was put in charge of their conversion and he also created an adjoining gallery in the small back gardens. There is recent evidence that the young Charles Rennie Mackintosh had a hand in some of the gallery's ornamental details.The scene was thus set for countless dinners, dances, concerts, lectures and not least, exhibitions.
The new rooms were opened on June 14, 1893.
A short history of the first 100 years of the club, on which much of the above account is based, was written by the late J.M. Reid in 1967.
Artist members of times past included James Guthrie and E. A. Walton, along with several other Glasgow Boys, although the pioneers of this group had initially been refused membership. Fra Newbery, the colourful head of Glasgow School of Art, was a member, as were many of his successors.
Other notable members have included the photographer and art dealer James Craig Annan; the picturesque R.B. Cunninghame Graham, pioneer Scottish Nationalist and horseman of the South American pampas; Neil Munro; O.H. Mavor (James Bridie); and John MacCormick, leader of the Covenant movement for Scottish home rule. Among more recent artist members were David Donaldson, Alexander Goudie and Emilio Coia.