black and white picture above is an early photo of 78 Derngate,
Northampton - a house that has for years, excited architects, historians,
artists and designers.
outside, 78 Derngate looks very ordinary
help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, 78 Derngate has now been restored
to its former glory and reopened to the public.
house is very important architecturally," says its curator
Rennie Mackintosh is now regarded as one of the chief architects
of the early 20th Century and this is the last extant piece of his
work and it's a complete piece of interior design."
Lots of fizz
Derngate was the only Mackintosh domestic commission outside of
was invited to remodel the Georgian house by the renowned model-maker
Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke in time for his wedding in 1917.
was a man of great energy," says Sylvia. "He had lots
of interests, lots of fizz - he was always rushing around.
" He was very concerned with modernity and everything being
efficient and speedy. He didn't want anything in his house that
was older than himself and he spotted in Mackintosh that classic
Ahead of its time
George Bernard Shaw saw stripes before his eyes in this bedroom
to Sylvia, Mackintosh's designs for 78 Derngate were ten years ahead
of their time: "It's a very modern house. If people look at
some of the interior here, they say it's a 1920s house but it was
done in the 1910s."
The house was also modern in many other ways: It had central heating,
indoor plumbing and lots of electrical gadgets in the kitchen.
initial design included a striking black room: the hall-lounge,
with a yellow-stencilled wallpaper motif of inverted triangles.
tour de force was the guest bedroom decoration of bold ultramarine,
black and white stripes. The playwright George Bernard Shaw stayed
rooms don't look out of place now, and it's nearly 90-years-old,"