Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) is generally recognised as one of the country’s outstanding architects, designers and artists of his era. His unique style of design blended modernity with traditional Scottish architecture and elements of Art Nouveau. Mackintosh became famous internationally, but his recognition in the UK mainly dates from 1968 which marked the centenary of his death.
Born in Glasgow, he attended evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art while apprenticed to a firm of local architects. He did very well at the school and among other prizes he won a travelling scholarship that took him to Italy. Back at home in 1896, he won the commission to design new premises for Glasgow’s School of Art against stiff competition. His building was eventually completed in 1909 and is to undergo restoration following the major fire in 2014.
His work tended to feature the latest techniques and he usually insisted on being responsible for every aspect of the design of a project, from the building to its furniture, light fittings and door handles. In 1914, Mackintosh moved to London and, apart from a few commissions during and soon after World War 1, he concentrated on painting for the rest of his life.
Mackintosh House, in the Hunterian Art Gallery of the University of Glasgow, is a relocated display of rooms and furnishings that were formerly at 6 Florentine Terrace, Glasgow. This was where Mackintosh lived between 1906 and 1914 with his wife Margaret Macdonald, herself a noted artist. It provides an excellent introduction to his work before exploring other Glasgow examples of his work, notably the House of an Art Lover, the Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street and the Scotland Street School Museum.