Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)

Scottish painter, architect, and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh influenced the the modern movement. Additionally, he created some of the most influential buildings, furniture, and decorative schemes of the early 20th century.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1893), James Craig Annan. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery, London.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh photo (1893) taken by James Craig Annan

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About His Life

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born on June 7, 1868, in Glasgow. He was the second son of eleven children of William McIntosh and Margaret Rennie. Further, his father was the Superintendent and Chief of Police for the City of Glasgow.

Black chair by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Black chair by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

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Mackintosh grew up in the Townhead and Denniston districts of Glasgow, where he attended Reid Public School and the Allan Glen Institute from 1880 to 1883. Since childhood, Charles avoided noisy companies and led a sedentary lifestyle due to problems with his musculoskeletal system due to injury. Thus, Charles devoted his free time to his sketches of garden flowers, which later became an adornment of many interiors.

Chair 'Ladder-back chair' - Glasgow in United Kingdom - Made by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 2006 (originally 1903).
Chair ‘Ladder-back chair’ by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

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Domino Clock- 1917- Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Glasgow).
Domino Clock (1917) by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

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In 1890, Mackintosh became the second winner of the Alexander Thomson Student Travel Competition, which “promoted the study of ancient classical architecture, with particular emphasis on the principles illustrated in the works of Mr. Thomson.” Then, in 1889, Macintosh joined Hanimen and Keppi as a draftsman for the architectural practice. In 1896, he won a competition to design and build a new art school for his mentor, Newbury, which was his first project. Compared to everything that was being built in Europe at that time, this project was completely revolutionary. The building established Macintosh as a radical architect from the start. Additionally, he sought a new design language suitable for the 20th century. Moreover, through theGlasgow Schoolof Art, Mackintosh laid the foundation for modern architecture.

Scotland Street School Museum: A large brown building with large windows.
Scotland Street School Museum

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Around 1892, at the Glasgow School of Art, Mackintosh met artist Margaret McDonald, who later became his wife. One fellow student, Herbert McNair, married Margaret’s sister, Frances MacDonald, a year earlier. The group worked together to become known as “The Four” and were prominent figures in the art and design style of Glasgow. In addition, theyproduced some of the most inventive decorative art and graphic design of the period.

Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Glasgow School of Art designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

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In 1904, after completing several successful construction projects, Mackintosh officially partnered with Honeyman & Keppie and the company became Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh. Then, when economic difficulties led to the closure of many architectural practices, in 1913, he abandoned the partnership and tried to open his practice.

的壮举ures of His Style

Charles Rennie Mackintosh is an iconic figure in the history of British design and architecture, as he is the ancestor of BritishArt Nouveau. His style replaced the reigning neo-romanticism and marked the beginning of the formation of a “cosmopolitan” variety of modernity. A distinctive feature of British Art Nouveau is a refined and noble restraint, close to asceticism. It is noteworthy that Charles used this style when working with graphics and interior design. As for architectural activities, he showed himself as a neo-romantic, inclined towardsrationalism.

Painted oak cabinet with coloured glass, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1902.
Painted oak cabinet with coloured glass (1902) designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

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Mackintosh shared the idea, popular among his contemporaries, that it was the architect’s duty to design the structure of a project and every detail of its interior. He was also a gifted painter. Notably, he created exquisite flower paintings and a series of striking landscapes of the south of France.

Glasgow- The Room de Luxe at The Willow Tearooms, C. R. Mackintosh, M. Macdonald.
The Room de Luxe at The Willow Tearooms

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His Major Works

麦金托什的工作可分为三个主要的一个reas: public buildings (Scotland Street school in Glasgow),private homes (The Hill House and the villas Windyhill), and tea rooms (The Willow Tearooms).

La façade sud (House for an art lover, Glasgow).
House for an Art lover in Glasgow

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  • Glasgow School of Art(1896–1909): the original example of Art Nouveau architecture in Britain.
  • The Willow Tearooms(1904): the most unique piece from Macintosh, combines art, architecture, and design into a single environment.
  • Windyhill(1899-1901): located in Kilmacolm
  • House on a Hill(1902): located in Helensburg
  • Scotland Street School(1904–06): located in Glasgow

He was also responsible for two unrealized projects: the1901 International Exhibition in Glasgow (1898) and the Haus eines Kunstfreundes or drawings for a competition to design a House for a Lover (1901). The latter was posthumously built as a House for an Art Lover in the late 20th century in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.

La salle à manger (House for an art lover, Glasgow)
House for an Art Lover in Glasgow

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