Designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Developing Styles

We were delighted to present two wonderful examples of furniture designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, showcasing Mackintosh's evolving design styles, in our November 2020 live online auction of Decorative Arts: Design since 1860 with Mackintosh's bedside cabinet leading the sale, achieving £250,000 incl premium.

In 1911, Mackintosh was in the last phase of creativity as an architect and designer in Glasgow before he and his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh moved to Walberswick in Suffolk three years later. During that year he was commissioned by Miss Cranston to provide designs for the temporary White Cockade tearoom at the Glasgow Exhibition. He also produced redesigns of furniture and interior decorations for The Chinese Room and designed a new room, The Cloister Room, both for Miss Cranston's Ingram Street Tearooms.

At the same time, he worked on a series of furniture designs for his friend, the decorator William Douglas, who worked from premises in West George Street and was employed on various projects by Mackintosh including Hous'hill, Miss Cranston's home, in 1904. Amongst the furniture designed for Douglas was Lot 362, a previously unrecorded gate-leg table in oak with distinctive and characteristic chequer decoration which extends around the piece. In keeping with other furniture in this group the table’s design has its origins in earlier furniture styles. It is unusual to see the painted design applied directly to the furniture although the design is a frequently used motif. Mackintosh did use this stencilled technique in a later scheme for W.J. Bassett-Lowke at 78 Derngate, Northampton from 1916-19.

 

CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH (1868-1928) GATE-LEG TABLE, CIRCA 1910
LOT 362 | CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH (1868-1928) | GATE-LEG TABLE, CIRCA 1910
decorated oak, with rectangular top and single drop leaf above square tapered legs linked by stretchers and terminating in brass caps and castors, the whole with stencilled chequer decoration | 122cm long, 58.5cm deep (closed), 86cm deep (open), 76cm high | Sold for £8,750 incl premium

 

View Lot 362 ⇒

 

Following the success of his designs for Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street Tearooms, by 1914 Mackintosh and his wife had moved to Walberswick in Suffolk. They remained in close contact with Francis Newberry and his family, who spent their summer holidays in cottages nearby.

Mackintosh’s main client during this period was W. J. Bassett Lowke, of 78 Derngate, Northampton. Basett Lowke had fostered early connections with those involved in the Deutscher Werkbund movement, which played a central role in the development of modern architecture and industrial design. Having not heard of Mackintosh prior to 1914, Bassett Lowke hired him for a project following the recommendation of a close friend. After leaving Glasgow, Mackintosh was keen to explore the inspirations he found during his visit to Vienna in 1900, and this married well with Bassett Lowke’s open-minded approach to the design and manufacturing process.

 

CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH (1868-1928) INLAID MAHOGANY BEDSIDE CABINET, 1916
LOT 368 | CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH (1868-1928) | INLAID MAHOGANY BEDSIDE CABINET, 1916
with ebonised plinth and shell-inlaid handles, the upper section with two doors flanked by uprights pierced by squares, the base with single panelled door enclosing a single drawer and a shelf | 36cm wide, 122cm high, 35.5cm deep | Sold for £250,000 incl premium

 

View Lot 368 ⇒

 

In Lot 368, Mackintosh places a clear emphasis on angular lines, minimal decoration and a far more solid sense of form; a departure from the curvilinear and stylised decorative motifs which dominated much of his earlier work. Typically, Mackintosh would have personally advised the furniture maker, amending his designs as the piece was in the midst of construction. However, under Basset-Lowke, Mackintosh had to rely on his drawings to communicate his wishes to the company’s craftsmen, many of whom were German immigrants working on the Isle of Man. Designs focussed on broad planes of timber, polished and waxed rather than stained, enhanced by details of abalone inlay. The result is an array of visually striking furniture with an elegant decorative effect that defines his work in Northampton.

We were delighted to include these wonderful examples of furniture design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in our November 2020 auction of Decorative Arts: Design since 1860 which took place live online over two days.

 


 

Auction Information

 

DECORATIVE ARTS: DESIGN SINCE 1860

Monday, 2nd & Tuesday, 3rd November
  

View the Auction Results  ⇒

 

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