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Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Stuart Robertson, FRSA, Director of CRM Society outlines the life and work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in 1868 in the Townhead area of Glasgow. In 1884 he became an apprentice to local architect John Hutchison, and then in 1889 he joined the larger, more established city practice of Honeyman and Keppie and was made a partner in 1901.
While attending classes at The Glasgow School of Art with friend and colleague Herbert McNair, he developed an artistic relationship with the English sisters Margaret and Frances Macdonald. They became known as 'The Glasgow Four', which led to the development of the ‘Glasgow Style’.
In 1893 he got his first big architectural job, The Glasgow Herald Building (The Lighthouse) and by 1895 Mackintosh was probably allowed for the first time some freedom of expression to design Martyrs' Public School. The Martyrs’ project shows the embryo of Mackintosh. Two years later he designed Queen’s Cross Church (The Mackintosh Church), the only church to be built to his design and now the headquarters of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society.
Extracts from BBC documentary 'Scope' on Charles Rennie Mackintosh transmitted in 1970. The convenor of planning outlines possible plans for some of the Mackintosh buildings in Glasgow.
The Glasgow School of Art (East Wing 1896-1899, West Wing 1907-1909) is regarded as Mackintosh's architectural masterpiece – where he gives full expression to his architectural ideals. It is a free-style building, rooted in tradition, which combines his love of nature with his travels to Italy and Europe.
In 1900 he married Margaret Macdonald and the following year the Mackintoshes entered a German competition to design a 'House for an Art Lover' - later realised in Bellahouston Park in 1996 - thanks to local civil engineer, Graham Roxburgh.
In 1902 another significant commission was The Hill House in Helensburgh for Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie. Mackintosh designed not only the house, but also much of the furniture and all the interior fittings and decorative schemes.
The Willow Tearoom, Glasgow
Kate Cranston was another of Mackintosh's patrons and from 1897-1917 he designed, or restyled, rooms in all four of her Glasgow tearooms including The Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street.
The interiors of the Mackintoshes own home at 6 Florentine Terrace (1906-1914) have been meticulously reassembled within the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow.
Scotland Street School (1903-1906) was one of Mackintosh's last commissions in Glasgow and by 1914 he and Margaret had left for Walberswick where he produced some of his finest watercolours.
They moved to Chelsea in 1915 where Mackintosh designed textile patterns and worked on his last commission, the interiors of 78 Derngate, Northampton (1916-1917).
The Mackintoshes arrived at Port Vendres, Southern France in 1923 where they lived and painted for 4 years until Mackintosh's health deteriorated and they returned to London, where he died on 10 December, 1928.
last updated: 08/06/2009 at 16:11