Largely under-rated in his homeland during his lifetime, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was an architect, designer and painter who influenced European design, particularly in Austria & Germany, in the early 1900’s. Over time he has achieved the recognition his work deserves, both in Scotland and worldwide.
Born in 1868, at the age of sixteen Mackintosh was apprenticed and took evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. At art school, Mackintosh with his friend and colleague Herbert MacNair met the artist sisters Margaret (who he would later marry) & Francis MacDonald. These four artists known as ‘The Four’ collaborated on designs for furniture, metalwork and illustration, developing a distinctive imagery of weird, abstracted female figure, and metamorphic lines reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley. Their style earned them the nickname of the ‘Spook School’ and their work particularly in England, was treated with suspicion because of its decadent influence of Continental Art Nouveau. The majority of Mackintosh’s work was created within a short period of intense activity between 1896 and 1910; his designs during this period included the Glasgow School of Art (known as the Mackintosh building), a series of Glasgow Tea room interiors for Miss Kate Cranston and large private houses such as ‘Windyhill’ in Kilmacolm and ‘The Hill House’ in Helensburgh.
The work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh is timeless, although he never created jewellery his influence can be seen in the many unique pieces which carry his style, Mackintosh’s lines are clean and firmly controlled leading to bold exciting forms.