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Charles Rennie Macintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born on June 7th, 1868 and passed away on December 10th, 1928. This man was a renowned Scottish architect, designer, water colorist and artist. Known for his participation in the Arts and Crafts movement, as well as his role as a key player in the British Art Nouveau movement, Mackintosh’s art and viewpoints were widely respected and sought after. Today, he remains an important influence on other artists, designers and architects.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow and passed away in London. Many of the buildings that he designed, along with his interiors and artworks, are currently on open to the public, at the University of Glasgow and other key locations. He is best known for his Willow Team Room design, as well as the design of Hill House.

Early Life of Charles Rennie Macintosh

The life of this pivotal Scottish architect/designer/painter began on 70 Parson Street, in Glasglow, Scotland. He was the fourth of twelve kids, and his parents were named William and Margaret Mackintosh. He was their second son. During his early years, he studied at Reid’s Public School, as well as the Allan Glen’s Institution.

Mackintosh’s talents become apparent to teachers as he began to reach maturity. In 1890, he was awarded the Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship, which was developed in order to help students go on to further study in the field of classical architecture (according to the design principles of the award’s namesake – architect, Alexander Thomson).

Early Career of Charles Rennie Mcintosh

After completing his travelling studentship, Charles Rennie Mcintosh began to work with an architectural firm known as Honeyman and Keppie. The first project that he participated in as a Honeyman and Keppie employee was the Glasgow Herald Building. This job was completed during 1899.

After this, he met the woman that he would marry. She was an artist called Margaret MacDonald, and she became an important influence on his style. Together with his new wife and others, a collaborative group was formed, called, “The Four”. By 1907, he became a full partner at Honeyman and Keppie. Due to changes in the economic climate, the firm later closed, and Macintosh branched out on his own. However, he too was unable to make his business profitable, due to global economic issues which were very widespread.

At this point, he and his wife went away to regroup. They holidayed in Suffolk, where Charles Rennie Macintosh began to create a series of watercolors of flowers. After this, the couple returned to London, where Macintosh experimented with fabric design.

Career Highlights of Charles Rennie Macintosh

In Glasgow, Mackintosh's greatest fanfare came through the creation of a range of restaurants, such as the tea rooms of his long-time patron, Kate Cranston. These tea rooms were studies in Macintosh’s very personalized design principles. He ardently believed that architects should be responsible for all aspects of their creations.

The Willow Tea Room

At The Willow Tea Room (1903) he made an existing interior into a striking series of contrasting interiors with furniture, carpet, wall decor, light fittings, menu, flower vases and cutlery. Even the dresses that the servers wore were his creation.

The Hill House

The Hill House of 1902 is another shining and important example of Mackintosh's unique, domestic architectural style and interior style (this building is now open to the public: via the National Trust for Scotland) and the building remains remarkably untouched by time today. The Mackintoshes' own private residence, complete with its original interiors, has been re-created at the Hunterian Art Gallery of the University of Glasgow (which is also open to the public).