Barcelona has Gaudí, Chicago has Frank Lloyd Wright – Glasgow has the Art Nouveau magic of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Mackintosh (1868-1928) was a pioneering Glaswegian architect, designer and artist known as one of the most creative figures of the 20th century and as a leading figure in the European Art Nouveau movement.
Glasgow is the only city in the world where you can view a concentration of his work so no trip would be complete without experiencing the magic of Mackintosh through a visit to some of the world-renowned and much loved venues across the city.
PLACES TO VISIT
The Mackintosh House within the Hunterian Art Gallery is a meticulous reassembly of the interiors of Mackintosh’s Glasgow home that he shared with his artist wife Margaret Macdonald. The actual house was demolished in the 60s but the original fixtures and furniture were preserved.
The Hunterian Art Gallery also houses one of the most important collections of work by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is home to the Mackintosh and Glasgow Style gallery – the largest permanent display of work in the world by key names in the Glasgow Style movement. The collection includes furniture, decorative panels and light fittings from the Ingram Street Tearooms, which he designed for Miss Kate Cranston (1900-1912). The collection also includes The Wassail gesso panel.
Another Mackintosh property which is in ownership of the City is Scotland Street School, Mackintosh’s final major commission in his home city which is now a museum dedicated to telling the story of education in Scotland.
Argyll Chair, The Mackintosh House
Music Room, House for an Art Lover
The Glasgow School of Art is considered Mackintosh’s masterpiece and was recently voted as the finest building designed by a British architect in the last 175 years. In 2014 a fire damaged the west wing of the Mackintosh building including the library which is undergoing a major restoration programme but visitors can still enjoy the new ‘Windows on Mackintosh’ visitor centre and GSA Shop within the state of the art Reid Building. The GSA also run ‘Mackintosh’s Glasgow’ walking tours of the local area.
Mackintosh Queen’s Cross is the only Mackintosh designed church that was ever built. Commissioned by the Free Church in 1896 it is notable for the simplicity in its design and the stunning stained glass – Gothic in character but infused with Mackintosh spirit.
House for an Art Lover is a unique visitor attraction located in the tranquil surrounds of Bellahouston Park in the city’s Southside. The House was built in 1996 taking inspiration from a portfolio of Mackintosh drawings which he had submitted as a competition entry to a German design magazine in 1901. The building includes a permanent exhibition of decoratively furnished rooms which allow visitors the opportunity to compare the original drawings against each completed room.
The Willow Tearooms on Buchanan Street is a replica of the Chinese Room and White Dining Room from the Ingram Street Tearooms. Take time to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea, Mackintosh style!
The Lighthouse building which formerly housed the Glasgow Herald was the first public commission completed by Mackintosh. Today it’s a centre for Design and Architecture and is home to the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre which includes displays of original objects, interactive touch screens and architectural models. A great place to start your Mackintosh journey through the city.
The Glasgow Art Club is a private member’s club that’s been established in the city since 1867. Located on Bath Street in the city centre since 1893 the Grade A listed Clubhouse includes stunning historically significant interiors including fireplaces, fretworks and door fittings all designed by a 25yrs old Mackintosh who was working as an apprentice to the architect John Keppie at the time. A must see for Mackintosh fans is the recently reinstated Mackintosh Frieze, which was his first major public work.
Although designed in the 19th Century, Mackintosh's iconic chairs have appeared in futuristic blockbusters including Blade Runner, Dr Who and Inception. Not only is Brad Pitt an avid fan, Louis Vuitton used replicas of the distinctive high-back chairs to seat guests at his 2016 Paris Fashion Week show.
The Mackintosh Festival takes place in October. Known as ‘Mackintosh Month’ the festival is a celebration of the life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh through a series of events and exhibitions with something appealing to all ages, whether Mackintosh aficionados or just discovering his work for the first time.
Celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth in 2018 will take place across the city and will include a major exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum with rarely seen objects going on display from the city’s Mackintosh collection.
Just a 40min drive north of Glasgow in the holiday town of Helensburgh, is The Hill House considered Mackintosh’s finest domestic work. Built as a new home for publisher Walter Blackie, the interior design and furniture are remarkably well preserved. Brad Pitt took a private tour of the property while he was staying in Scotland during filming of the Hollywood blockbuster World War Z.
Other examples of Mackintosh’s work that can be found across the city include the Daily Record building, Ruchill Church and Martyr’s School.