On the birthday of one of Britain’s most famous creative geniuses, we’re taking a visual whizz through the colours of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Scottish architect, artist and designer (1868 – 1928) changed the face of design and art in the fusty 19th century and established himself as the leading figure of Art Nouveau and modern design in the UK. His sensational buildings drew attention from continental Europe and came to define the city of his birth, where his best-known commissions include the Glasgow School of Art (built in two phases, 1897-99 and 1907-9) and Hill House (1902-4), built for the publisher Walter Blackie in the Glasgow suburb of Helensburgh. Virtually unknown in Britain while he was alive, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s work was extremely influential abroad – most notably in Vienna – and he exchanged ideas with Austrian designers such as Josef Hoffmann. He left Glasgow in 1914 having grown tired of the architecture industry, it is thought, and by 1920 he’d abandoned architecture as a career to focus his talents on watercolours, which continued to fascinate him until his death. Today he is an iconic figure, admired internationally for his contributions to architecture, art, furniture, fabrics and more.
Click on the links at the end of the images to read more about the individual pieces we’ve selected for this colour-led birthday celebration.
Image sources from the top: Glasgow’s House for an Art Lover, Door detail, Bedroom at Hill House, Chairs designed for Hill House, Willow chair designed for the Willow Tea Rooms, Smoker’s Cabinet from the Furniture collection at the V&A, Washstand made for Hill House, Bedroom furniture from Hill House, Wave textile design, Tulip and Lattice textile design, Pencil and watercolour for a textile design, Furnishing fabric from the V&A Textiles and Fashion collection, Design for a frieze at 78 Dergate from the RIBA Library Drawings Collection, Hill House in Helensburgh, Willow Wood.