FORGOTTEN letters from some of the most pivotal figures of European art have been uncovered in the Glasgow School of Art’s archives.

Letters from French sculptor Auguste Rodin, arts and crafts movement leader William Morris and even War of the Worlds author HG Wells were discovered by archivist Rachael Jones.

They were kept by Francis Newbery, who was the institution’s director from 1885 to 1918. It was he who commissioned Charles Rennie Mackintosh to create its internationally-renowned Mackintosh building, which is currently being restored after the fire of May 2014.

In one of the letters, Rodin, whose pieces include The Thinker, asks Newbery what the Scottish public made of his work during the Glasgow International Exhibition, which marked the opening of the city’s K In another, Morris agrees to give a lecture on the Arts and Crafts movement at the GSA. Experts say Mackintosh may have attended as he was a student at the time.

The items were discovered during work to digitise and catalogue the collections.

Jones said: “I knew that some of the most exciting of the directors’ papers were those of Francis Newbery, head of the art school during an incredibly dynamic period in the school’s history.

“So I was thrilled to find that a box of material relating to him that had not yet been catalogued, and to discover some real gems in it.”