The late 1890s saw Glasgow’s reputation in the realm of architecture and the decorative arts reach an all-time high. At the very heart of this success was Scottish artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. In fact, Mackintosh is regarded as the father of Glasgow Style.
The city of Glasgow is central to Mackintosh’s life and career as he was born in Glasgow, trained in Glasgow and is responsible for creating some of the most important buildings here. During a recent visit, I had the opportunity to visit a few of the properties that help tell the story of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
My favourite spot was his masterwork, the Glasgow School of Art, which was voted “Britain’s favorite building of the past 175 years.” As I walked through the Glasgow School of Art, I could see evidence that Mackintosh intended to take those who entered the building on some type of a journey. Mackintosh took inspiration from various forms of nature, incorporating into his work things such as buds, leaves and a variety of other plant parts. After visiting several areas, I noticed a recurrent technique used by Mackintosh. In a unique way, he added small details that evolve from one side of a space to another. For example, a small decorative bud included on a series of support beams changes slightly from beam to beam, starting as a simple bud on one side of the room and turning into a flower on the other.
Another must see for Glasgow Style enthusiasts is The Mackintosh House. Part of the Hunterian Art Gallery it holds the contents and collections of much of the Mackintosh’s 19th century Glasgow home. The reassembled interior reflects the original home precisely, from the effects of natural light to the sequence of the rooms, and is furnished with the Mackintosh’s personal furniture which they designed.
For more great works of Mackintosh and other important contributors to the Glasgow Style, The Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style Gallery at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is impressive. It houses the world’s largest permanent display of work by the key names of the Glasgow Style. From stained glass and metal work to furniture and tearoom interiors, this collection of objects reveals the breadth of media and techniques used during this period of design in Glasgow.