From a single preserve spoon to a full fitted kitchen the elegant designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh attracted international interest in our Decorative Arts: Design from 1860 auction this October – the series of just 4 lots fetching a total of over £150,000.
The main highlight was a pair of ebonised oak “ladder back chairs”, designed by Mackintosh in 1903 for Miss Cranston's Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow – substantial interest from bidders both within Scotland and abroad took the chairs to £109,250.
The chairs came from a private owner, who said: "I feel I have been extraordinarily lucky as I was given the chairs by a friend when I was 21 years old, in the late 1960s. Since then I have used them every day, but after some careful thought and discussions with my wife, we decided to sell the chairs as we would like others to enjoy them as much as we have."
A dessert fork designed by Mackintosh for his friend Fra Newbery, the former director of the Glasgow School of Art, fetched £5,750. The silver dessert fork was designed in 1902 as part of a set of dining cutlery for Mr Newbery and his wife Jessie. The 48-piece set comprising 12 settings of four forks and spoons, was later divided equally between the Newberys' daughters Mary and Elsie. The rare 23cm-long dessert fork descended through Elsie's family and was one of only a few pieces remaining in private hands.
The fitted kitchen, including a range of cupboards and worktops, was sold for £35,250, was designed in 1907 for The Moss, a Georgian house at Dumgoyne, near Killearn. The house, which was owned by a judge, Sir Archibald Campbell Lawrie, is now demolished but the kitchen was removed intact. Dumgoyne is listed among the locations of Mackintosh's domestic work in his entry in Who's Who in Glasgow 1909.
John Mackie, Lyon & Turnbull's Director and Head of Decorative Arts, said: "Mackintosh was a genius really. All markets ebb and flow but Mackintosh's designs are still interesting and relevant. They have their place very firmly in design history. He made his mark, and people still appreciate that. He proved himself a brilliant architect, designer and an amazing artist. He was a polymath who could do anything in the arts with great skill, aplomb, imagination and originality. Nothing he did was boring."