GAC Lives: James McNaught

GAC Lives: James McNaught

For the first in our series of interviews with Club Members, we speak to James McNaught,  Head of Glasgow, Lyon & Turnbull Fine Art Auctioneers who has been a Member Since November 2012.


When did you join?

I joined the GAC in November 2012 having recently joined Lyon & Turnbull Auctioneers, conveniently diagonally across Bath Street at 182, Cooper Hay’s old premises. For the first couple of years the Club was quite daunting, I only used the dining room occasionally for lunch or with family, but as I became more of a regular I got to know more of the members and it became very easy to enjoy the dining room, relax in the gallery or even getting on with some work up in the library.

How long have you been on Council?

In 2015 I was asked to join the Council, at which time I already Chaired the Members’ Social Committee, so I thought it was a good step to become more involved in Club Life. I stepped down from the Social Committee at the end of 2017. Since then I have become more involved with the Fundraising Committee which was set up to steer the 150th Celebrations and now set to raise funds for the general ongoing upkeep of the GAC and, hopefully, for future capital projects. I always look forward to stepping through the GAC door, there are always new people to meet, conversations to be had and sometimes business to be discussed!

Favourite Memory of the GAC? I think most recently drawing the raffle at the Christmas Party 2017, it was great to see so many members, old and new, enjoying each other’s company and sharing the fun.

Social Events Committee:

I had great fun and got such satisfaction organising larger member’s events. I put together many Burns Suppers, with a different cast of varying celebrity each year. Christmas Parties ranging from the big band to small get togethers. The Summer Sunday Picnics were enjoyable at Gielston, Dumfries House and Duntreath.

Efric, Fiona, James, Jean and Marie

It’s now time to pass over the reins to someone else! As we move forward the GAC is doing very well to open itself up and become more accessible to the public while retaining its exclusivity as a Private Members Club. The planned music gigs, open mic nights and continuing exhibitions bring new faces and personalities which is what the GAC should be all about. The GAC is a fantastic venue, and I feel that’s what it should be referred to more frequently. From another perspective Lyon & Turnbull have always been delighted to host Auction Highlight events and private lunches, in the past. As a family we have also entertained our friends and extended family at events – I had my 21st Birthday, a few years ago now! It’s a very versatile space that is really about the socialising just as much as any exhibition or the collection. The ever-changing art exhibitions show a varied and high standard of works of art throughout the year. I have enjoyed Mackintosh for his 150th Celebration and I am looking forward to the David Michie exhibition in October 2018.

From your point of view, could the GAC improve anything?

One thing that I think really should be addressed is the way the u35 membership is revered, as the future of the GAC, there should be more done to proactively seek young professionals out. A separate calendar of events tailored to this demographic would work wonders. The GAC could benefit tremendously from targeting those finishing work at 5/6pm and looking for refreshments and food!

What do you use the club for most?

Entertaining clients, popping in for lunch, my office being in such close proximity helps, it’s easy and great food, and a beautiful setting to entertain clients! As a few of my family are members it’s a good choice of location to meet up with them too.

One must remember that the private members club is a dying breed. We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy the GAC on Bath Street. As members we should care for it and look after it but also allow it to evolve and change with the times, to allow the next generation to enjoy it too!

What would the Club benefit from?

Work space, hot-desking or a study room. Lots of people work from home or don’t necessarily have an office space in the City so let’s get them out of Starbucks and into the GAC.

Favourite piece from the collection?








Celtica by James Pittendrigh MacGillivray

The Club has a fabulous collection and all of the works are definitely becoming dear friends of mine. One piece that stands out to me is Celtica, by James Pittendrigh MacGillivray. This 1926 design is one of a handful of casts.

Another work that springs to mind is the watercolour by Glasgow Boy, David Gauld, Cheltenham, which the pair to it hangs in the National Galleries Collection. It’s a very attractive society painting of the time, depicting major characters in the art world around 1900.