This morning I collected two guests by appointment and embarked on a tour of the principal sites designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

BACKGROUND ON MACKINTOSH

Mackintosh (1868-1928) was a designer and artist. His work ranged from jewellery to graphics, from wall decoration to exhibited paintings, from pottery vases to wood engraving. He designed all kinds of objects for domestic use: tables, chairs, cutlery and napkins, carpets, mirrors, curtain fabric and light fittings, beds, hat stands, wardrobes and clocks. He also designed complete buildings including foundations and structural steel, ventilation systems and plumbing. He painted landscapes and flowers. However, the heart of his achievement was the design of places to be inhabited, rooms and sequences of rooms, their form and light and material.

The ‘Glasgow Four’ comprised Mackintosh, Herbert MacNair and the sisters Margaret and Frances MacDonald. This group worked within the Glasgow School of Art around 1890-1910 and produced decorative works of furniture, architecture, panels, embroideries and graphic material.

The ‘Glasgow School’ centred around the Glasgow School of Art. This group of artists, including George Henry and E.H. Hornel were contemporary with  Mackintosh and  the Glasgow Four. Henry and Hornel were both members of the Glasgow School of Painters and often worked in collaboration. They were influenced by Japanese art and often used elements from this in paintings.

The ‘Glasgow Style’ spanned the era 1890-1920 and centred around the Glasgow School of Art and encompassed the Glasgow Four.

HOUSE FOR AN ART LOVER

House for an Art Lover, Glasgow

House for an Art Lover, Glasgow, Scotland

The design dates from 1901 when Mackintosh entered a competition set by a German design magazine which sought entries to design a ‘grand house in a thoroughly modern style’ and challenged architects to develop ideas which were fresh and innovative.

Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald worked on the submission which, unfortunately, was disqualified due to technical non-compliance with the rules. However, the designs were awarded a special prize in recognition of “their pronounced personal quality, their novel and austere form and the uniform configuration on interior and exterior.”

Construction commenced 1989 with completion 1996.

SCOTLAND STREET SCHOOL

Scotland Street School by Mackintosh

Scotland Street School by Mackintosh, Glasgow

Designed by Mackintosh between 1903 and 1906. This was his last public commission in Glasgow. Here, Mackintosh reversed tradition and gave the towers with conical roofs wall of glass with narrow stone mullions. Instead of spiral stairs he used straight flights which benefited from the light which streams into them. He played off the verticality of the towers against the horizontal nature of the rest of the building.

QUEENS CROSS CHURCH (THE MACKINTOSH CHURCH )

Mackintosh Church, Glasgow

Mackintosh Church, Glasgow, Scotland

Inside Mackintosh Church,Queen's Cross

Inside Mackintosh Church,Queen's Cross, Glasgow

Commissioned by the Free Church of Scotland in 1896, Foundation stone was laid 23rd June 1898 with completion and opening 10thSept 1899. The building was designed for a congregation of 820.

At the time Mackintosh was a trainee with the architecture firm of Honeyman and Keppie but was entrusted with the work. Construction of the church was contemporary with the first phase of the Glasgow School of Art (see below). The church design reveals a sophisticated handling of form, ornament and symbolic meaning.

RUCHILL CHURCH HALL

Ruchill Church Hall, Glasgow

Ruchill Church Hall, Glasgow, Scotland

Built as a mission in 1899 and pre-dates adjacent church which is not Mackintosh designed.

The Hall primarily consists of two halls and two committee rooms which are still in use as a community centre. Considered a well planned, minor work.

GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART

Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow

Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland

This building is acknowledged as Mackintosh’s masterpiece. Due to financial constraints, half was completed in 1899 with the western end finished exactly a decade later in 1909 when Mackintosh was 41 yrs of age. It has been called the most important building worldwide in that decade. The north façade exactly reflects the internal plan of the building resulting in a masterpiece of balanced asymmetry. The entrance is at the centre of the building. Particular features of note include:

Detail of window brackets, main entrance on the north façade.

Details of railings outside north façade.

The finial above the Director’s office on the north façade.

East façade entrance hall..

Museum

Mackintosh Room.

Rose motif in doors of studio 45.

Decorative tiles.

West façade and its door.

West corridor.

The periodical table in the library.

The library lights and internal windows.

The Loggia, ‘Hen Run’, Director’s Office and Boardroom

WILLOW TEA ROOMS, SAUCHIEHALL STREET.

Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street

Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

Inside Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street

Inside Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

A concept inspired by Catherine Cranston as a place where respectable ladies could venture out and socialize. A form of private club which offered facilities for dining, reading and writing, billiards and smoking.

Mackintosh designed the complete interiors at  Sauchiehall Street being work dating from 1903-4. The tea rooms offered the most complete public spaces of Mackintosh’s career.

HILLL HOUSE, HELENSBURGH

The Hill House, Helensburgh

The Hill House, Helensburgh, Scotland

A complete residential house commissioned by publisher Walter Blackie in 1902. Here Mackintosh designed not only the house and gardens but much of the furniture and interiors as well. Margaret MacDonald contributed fabric designs and a unique panel over the fireplace in the drawing room. Overall result is considered a daring design with an air of restrained elegance.

Finally, with a little time to spare. we paid a short visit to the heritage village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond

Luss, loch Lomond

Luss, Loch Lomond, Scotland

Overall, a productive day’s tour which benefited from reasonable weather.

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