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Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)

Glasgow School of Art

Designer: Mackintosh, Charles Rennie (1868-1928)
Copyright: Nicholas Breach/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1979)

Born in Glasgow, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was apprenticed to the architect John Hutchinson from 1184-89, during when he won the Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship, set up for the ‘furtherance of the study of ancient classic architecture’. Mackintosh later worked as a draughtsman for Honeyman and Keppie, eventually becoming a partner in 1903.


Mackintosh followed the new style of modernism which was to develop innovative ideas and new technology: design concerned with the present and the future, rather than with history and tradition. Even though Mackintosh became known as the ‘pioneer’ of the movement, his designs were far removed from the bleak utilitarianism of Modernism. His concern was to build around the needs of individual people.


With his wife, Margaret MacDonald, her sister Frances MacDonald and Herbet MacNair, Mackintosh exhibited in Glasgow, London and Vienna as ‘The Four’.


Mackintosh’s major work was the Glasgow School of Art (1897-1900) which enabled him to develop his own style of strong right angles and floral-inspired decorative motifs with subtle curves. Mackintosh also worked in furniture, textile, metalwork and interior design, showing his work at the Vienna Secession Exhibition in 1900.


Mackintosh’s career was a relatively short one, but of significant impact. All his major commissions were between 1896 and 1906, where he designed private homes, commercial buildings, interior renovations, church, and furniture.