Two things you didn’t know about Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Macintosh, 1868-1928

An architect, designer, painter, and graphic artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow in 1868. He was one of the leading lights of the late 19th-century British Arts and Crafts movement, and served an apprenticeship to the architect John Hutchinson in Glasgow while also enrolled in evening courses in drawing and painting at the Glasgow School of Art. From 1899 until 1913, he worked in the architectural practice of Honeyman & Keppie. In 1894 Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald, whom he later married, founded the “Glasgow Four” with Margaret’s sister Frances, and Herbert MacNair, a group that was later dubbed the “Spook School”.

In 1896 the Glasgow Four showed their crafts objects and furniture at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in London. Mackintosh built several public buildings and private houses in Glasgow and environs. In 1897 he began to work on the new building for the Glasgow School of Art (finished in 1909). Some of his projects were conceived and realised as total works of art, with the architect equally concerned with designing the entire interior, including textiles and furnishings.

In 1900 Mackintosh and his group were invited to show their work at the VIIIth exhibition of the Viennese Secession. His designs exerted a profound influence on German and Austrian exponents of Jugendstil.

He was awarded a special prize at the 1901 competition “Haus eines Kunstfreundes” (“House for an Art Lover”) mounted by Alexander Koch. In 1902 Mackintosh was commissioned by Fritz Wärndorfer, who became the paramount backer of the Wiener Werkstätte the following year, to design a music room. In 1914 Mackintosh went to London to design textiles for Foxton’s and Sefton’s.

Mackintosh’s later works are, unlike his earlier designs, which were organic in conception, distinguished by a stringently geometric style, which often unites the opposites light and dark, black and white, masculine and feminine, modern and traditional. In 1923 Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret moved to Port Vendres in Brittany, where he devoted himself to painting in watercolour.


Charles Rennie Macintosh, House for an Art Lover

The House for an Art Lover is a building constructed between 1989 and 1996 and based on a 1901 design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh with his wife, Margaret MacDonald. The building is situated in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, Scotland. The idea to actually construct the house from the Mackintoshs’ designs came from Graham Roxburgh, a civil engineer in Glasgow who had done refurbishment work on the Mackintosh interiors in Craigie Hall. The house is a venue for art exhibitions and other events, as well as being itself a visitor attraction.

Macintosh is less well known for his exquisite flower paintings and his landscapes, painted in the south of France.

Flower paintings


Grey Iris


Winter Rose




Butterfly Flower


White Tulips


Yellow Tulips




Wild Pansies




Pink Tobacco plant, textile design





Slate Roofs, Fetges




La Lagonne


The Fort


Héré de Mallet

EH, Meeting No22, 7 August 2018

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