Bruce Hamilton

Bruce hamilton

Bruce is the third generation of his family to work in the timber trade and he has almost forty years’ experience in the furniture industry. Serving his apprenticeship as a chair maker, Bruce was presented the award of top student in his final year at college. He then went on to work for various companies, gaining sound knowledge of all aspects of furniture construction.
In the autumn of 1990, the company Bruce was working for ceased trading, which gave him the opportunity to realise his long-held ambition: to set up his own business. His first workshop would be his father’s double garage; after attending a government-run business start-up course, Bruce Hamilton Furniture Makers was established in the spring of 1991.
After two years of trading, Bruce’s business had outgrown his initial garage workshop and the need for more space was necessary. Moving to a redundant joiner’s workshop in Johnstone, Bruce gained more space and he acquired his first heavy-duty woodwork machines, which helped him to step up production and tender for larger commissions.
It was during his time in the new workshop in 1994 that he was given two important commissions in Glasgow. Firstly, the dining room furniture for the House for an Art Lover, followed by  the furniture for The Willow Tea Rooms.
Subsequent notable commissions were to follow, including choir stalls for Paisley Abbey, replacement Director’s Room and Board Room chairs for the Glasgow School of Art and the Communion Table for the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh.

In 2014, Bruce Hamilton Furniture Makers relocated to the current workshop in Anniesland, in the West End of Glasgow. He continues to undertake work for private clients, with numerous commissions both at home and abroad.

In 2018, the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s birth, Bruce supplied a selection of hand-made Mackintosh chairs for the shop at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. The chairs were available for purchase during the Mackintosh exhibition, ‘Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style’.  Later that year, Bruce had the honour of being asked to create furniture for one of C.R. Mackintosh’s most exquisite buildings, ‘Mackintosh at the Willow’. The commission involved several visits to the Glasgow School of Art, to survey and measure an original chair in the collection. Bruce crafted over thirty chairs, all of which were required to be of the highest standard, and pass scrutiny by the advisory panel to the board of Mackintosh at the Willow. At the official opening, in recognition of his work, and on behalf of the many craft workers and tradespeople involved in the restoration of Mackintosh at the Willow, Bruce was privileged to be formally presented to HRH the Prince of Wales and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall.

history

1965
1965

This watercolour painting by Robert Barbour is a favourite possession. Bruce commissioned the painting long after his father’s yard was demolished. Robert produced the painting from a handful of photographs Bruce gave him, showing him as a young boy playing and watching the daily goings-on in the timber yard.

1965
1986 – 1990

Bruce started work as an apprentice with James E. Robertson & Sons in 1979. He worked in the workshop and on site fitting out pubs, clubs and hotels.

1986 – 1990
1991

ESTABLISHED HIS OWN BUSINESS

Working out of his father’s double garage, the business was set up to produce Charles Rennie Mackintosh reproductions and bespoke one-off pieces designed to exacting specifications, often with frequent client input.

1991
1992

UNIVERSITY OF PAISLEY

Now known as The Unversity of West of Scotland, this was where Bruce created his first major ecumenical commission – The Chancellor’s Chair.

1992
1993

FIRST WORKSHOP

Production moved to his first ‘real’ work shop in Johnstone, taking over an old joiner’s shop.

1993
1994

HOUSE FOR AN ART LOVER

Received a commission to produce the dining room furniture for The House For an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park.

1994
2000

CANONGATE

One of six furniture maker/designers asked to produce a design for a communion table for the Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh. The table was the congregation’s acknowledgement of the year 2000. Bruce was successful with his entry and was awarded the commission.

2000
2002

PAISLEY ABBEY

Adding to the historic interior, Bruce was commissioned to make two rows of portable choir stalls for Paisley Abbey. A further commission followed to make choirbook rests for the rear back stalls.

2002
2003

GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART

Bruce was commissioned to make six Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed chairs for the Director’s Room at the Glasgow School of Art. He was very proud to receive this commission, as it was the first time that the Art School have replaced original Mackintosh pieces with reproductions.

2003
2004

SUMMER EXHIBITION (SOUTH OF FRANCE)

The Glasgow School of Art invited Bruce to provide examples of his Charles Rennie Mackintosh furniture as part of a summer exhibition of his work, in Port Vendres in the South of France.

2004
2005

ST. VINCENT DE PAUL, EAST KILBRIDE

For this client, Bruce was asked to undertake his largest commission to date. The pews were made to a specific design: the church wanted deeper seats which needed to be flat with no rake. Due to the scale of the work involved, in order to ensure the timely delivery of the commission, Bruce employed the services of a joiner and cabinet-maker for the duration of this project.

2005
2006

CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH DINING SUITE IN CALIFORNIA

Bruce was commissioned by a private client in Santa Barbara, USA to make a ten seat Charles Rennie Mackintosh dining suite.
2006
2007

GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART BOARDROOM CHAIRS

Bruce was asked to create twelve new boardroom chairs for Glasgow School of Art, to replace original pieces that were being donated to a museum.

2007
2008

FURNITURE DELIVERED TO BELGUIM

A private client in Belgium requested a Mackintosh-inspired wardrobe, two barrel chairs and a domino table. Bruce also completed many private commissions in the UK during this year.

2008
2009

CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH IN TEXAS

Bruce created a Mackintosh-designed ‘Willow’ settle and a Hill House Ladder-back chair.

2009
2011

THE MACKINTOSH TRAIL

As part of the ‘Mackintosh Trail’, Bruce supplied six Charles Rennie Mackintosh reproduction pieces for display in Port Vendres, South of France. Additionally he was asked to provide a Mackintosh-design dining suite and a ‘Hunterian’ sideboard to a private client in Washington D.C.

2011
2012

CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH FURNITURE IN ITALY

Bruce completed a Charles Rennie Mackintosh ‘Franklin’ table for a private client in Italy. This year also saw Bruice undertake many commissions for private clients, including to two in London.

2012
MAY 2014

BENCHES MADE FOR POSSILPARK HEALTH CENTRE

This was the last commission to be completed by Bruce’s workshop in Linwood. Two benches were designed for the reception areas of the ground and first floors of the new Health Centre at Possilpark, Glasgow. These benches were a joint commission with Chris Turner, a fellow craftsman.

MAY 2014
JULY 2014

MOVED TO NEW WORKSHOP

After seventeen years based in Linwood, Bruce moved the workshop into Glasgow. This involved a big clear-out and quite a bit of re-organizing.  The new workshop was a big improvement, in a great location, and offering quick access to Glasgow, including many of Bruces suppliers.

JULY 2014
2015

MACKINTOSH FURNITURE SUPPLIED TO MANY COUNTRIES

Bruce was commissioned to make a ‘Willow ‘ settle and two Blackie desk chairs in Padauk, for a client in Cape Town, South Africa. Bruce also took commissions from clients in Canada, New South Wales (Australia) and a complete Charles Rennie Mackintosh suite for a client in Cambridge, England.

2015
2016

GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART LIBRARY CHAIR

Following the fire in 2014, which destroyed the library and the west of the building, Bruce was asked to provide a reproduction of the Glasgow School of Art library chair as part of the refurbishment. (Sadly, his part in the project was put on hold as the restoration neared completion due to a second catastrophic fire.)

2016
2018

A ROYAL INTRODUCTION

Bruce was selected as one of the craftsmen asekd  to provide furniture for the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Willow Tearooms on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. He made more than thirty armchairs for the front and back Salons and for the mezzanine floor. Bruce was honoured to be introduced to HRH the Prince of Wales and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall at the official opening of Mackintosh at the Willow.

2018
2019

WHITE FURNITURE COMMISSION

Recently Bruce was able to recreate Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed white bedroom furniture for a client in south west of Scotland.

2019
2019

BESPOKE STAIRCASE

Bruce was asked to strip out an old banister from a three-storey mid-terraced townhouse in the West End of Glasgow, and to replace it with a custom-made banister. To do so, he produced all-new moulding and panels in-house, and hand finished them with oil.

2019

Testimonials

Hello Bruce, the chair was delivered safely yesterday and we are delighted with it. We think that the quality of your workmanship is outstanding & also appreciated the care you took in ensuring the chair was properly packed so that it arrived without any damage.

DAVE

(UK)

Testimonials

We’ve taken delivery this afternoon and they look great. Exactly as we imagined and better than we hoped for. Thank you and should you ever need a reference or photos we’d be happy to oblige.
Stephen
(Paris)
You recently made me an Ingram high back chair which was for my wife’s 60th birthday. I would just like to say how pleased I am with it. Not only are we pleased with the chair, but we are both impressed with your skills as a craftsman. Once again thanks for a great job, and thanks for making her birthday so special.
Trevor
(UK)
First working day back in Cape Town and I already have my chairs. In two words: ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. I am having to rearrange my furniture accordingly to give them all pride of place. The settle I knew and already loved. The two chairs I had only seen in pictures before – truly works of art. Deceptively simple in looks; devilishly complex in detail. Thank you so much – I can see why you were loath to let them go! I love the reddish wood too… Kind regards from a very satisfied customer. What next?!

Michael

(South Africa)

I am long overdue in writing to thank you for the beautiful CRM Ladder Back reproduction chair that you managed to get to me in time for Christmas. My husband was absolutely delighted with it. It is a work of art. I am especially grateful that he got it before he went back to Africa as I’m not sure that it would have been the same to show him a picture. It is nice to know that there are still craftsmen such as yourself amidst the world of mass production.
Jeanette
(Aberdeenshire)
Well, more than a month has passed since Christmas and I realise that I haven’t dropped you a line to let you know how the ladder back was received…Dave loved it!! His face on Christmas day was a picture…he couldn’t believe that I had bought it and was rendered speechless ( a rare thing!!). He circled it slowly, looked at it from every angle and ran his hands up and down each and every part of it! It has pride of place in his home and I will never regret buying it for him. He is totally impressed with your craftsmanship, as am I. Thank you so much.
Michaela
(UK)
Thank you so much for bringing the chair over yesterday. I am sure it will go down well as a christening present – I cant imagine anything better!
Max
(UK)

The chairs and table have arrived in perfect condition, and we are very pleased with the result; in particular, the colour/shade of the chairs and fabric perfectly match our existing furniture/floor. It sure was worth waiting! We thank you a lot. P.S. We also have appreciated the efficient design of the crate … the furniture did travel safely.

Christian and Marie-Antoine
(PARIS)
Hello Bruce, your work has been much admired. The switch box was a most admirable solution, beautifully made and looks like it has always been there. One would not know that the pews had been altered. I sent a pic of it to Nigel Robb, secy of CARTA ata121. He was most impressed.

Richard

(Bearsden cross church)

Hello Bruce, the chair was delivered safely yesterday and we are delighted with it. We think that the quality of your workmanship is outstanding & also appreciated the care you took in ensuring the chair was properly packed so that it arrived without any damage.
Dave
(UK)