Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Glasgow's Art Nouveau Genius

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow in 1868. An architect, designer and artist, he was known as one of the leading figures in both the Scottish Arts and Crafts Movement and the European Art Nouveau. His work can be seen across the city and Glasgow is the only city in the world where you can view a concentration of his renowned work.

His work encompasses buildings from educational facilities to tea rooms, from church halls to newspaper headquarters. The story of Mackintosh is the story of Glasgow and of how the city has always been ahead of its time.

Glasgow is home to a world class collection of Mackintosh buildings, drawings and designs open for visitors to explore across the city including: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Mackintosh at the Willow, The Lighthouse, Mackintosh House at the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow Art Club, Scotland Street School Museum and Mackintosh Queen’s Cross.

Meanwhile, the stunning House for An Art Lover in Bellahouston Park was designed by Mackintosh in 1901 for an architectural competition that was eventually realised in 1996.

Mackintosh Queen's Cross

Queen’s Cross Church is the only church designed by Mackintosh and this year the church is celebrating its 120th anniversary. Commissioned in 1896 by the Free Church of St Matthew and with the requirement of simplicity in its design, the building opened to the congregation in1899. The outside of the church is predominately gothic in its approach but Mackintosh elevated the design by adding detailing and carving around the church. In contrast the interior has an eclectic mixture of influences, from pre-reformation English, Gothic and Japanese.

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse was the first public commission completed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Formerly The Glasgow Herald, The Lighthouse is now Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture and this year marks its 20th Anniversary. The venue is located in Glasgow city centre and it is home to the Mackintosh Centre, a permanent Mackintosh Interpretation Centre that celebrates Glasgow’s the life and work of the architect.

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style gallery at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

An Introduction to the Glasgow Style

After the early 1890s Glasgow saw a new art movement emerging from the School of Art, private studies and workshops. The Glasgow Style, the city’s unique Art Nouveau style, was born. This gallery presents works produced not only by Mackintosh but by his contemporaries too. These objects explain the lines, forms and popular motifs that make The Glasgow Style, the influence of Japan, the British Design Reformers, the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Celtic Revival.

The Glasgow Tearooms

Miss Catherine Cranston, a businesswoman and entrepreneur, owner of four city-centre tearooms, commissioned their design to Mackintosh. This work gave him the opportunity to experiment with interior design and provided one of his most important patrons with cutting edge new design. In 1917 the interiors of the Ingram Street Tearooms were removed and came into the collections of Glasgow Museums. Sections from two of these interiors – the white Ladies Luncheon Room of 1900 and the blue Chinese Room of 1911 – form the heart of this display.

The Macdonald Sisters

Margaret and Frances Macdonald were major contributors to the development of The Glasgow Style. Collaborating artistically with their future husbands, Mackintosh and James Herbert McNair, the two couples became known as “The Four” and produced highly symbolic and figurative work in a variety of media.

Art, Craft and Industry

This exhibit explores the technical education behind the design and production of Glasgow Style and the story of its manufacture in the City. Companies looked at in focus include the work of George Walton & Co and Wylie and Lochhead. Stained glass and the production of arts and crafts pottery and hand-painted ceramics is also looked at.

Lesser known Mackintosh

Two less well-known buildings designed by Mackintosh but equally impressive and significant are the Daily Record Building and Ruhill Church Hall. Right in Glasgow’s city centre but hidden away in a small lane, The Daily Record Building was designed in 1901 as the headquarters of the newspaper. With the intention of maximising light, he used striking colours on the outside, from yellow sculpted sandstones to blue and white glazed reflective bricks.

Ruchill Church Hall is much smaller than Mackintosh’s other designs, however it is a hidden gem that enthusiasts shouldn’t miss. Erected in 1899 as a mission hall the building has all the original features intact, even a century after they were created. Mackintosh’s trademark art nouveau motifs can be found all around the building, from stained glass windows to the flower patterns embedded in the dark wooden doors.

Meanwhile the V&A in Dundee are displaying the Oak Room, the largest of Miss Cranston's Ingram Street Tearooms. The conservation of the Oak Room is a collaboration between Glasgow Museums, V&A Dundee and Dundee City Council.