Glasgow and Mackintosh

First off hello! long time no see!

Anyway, I’m here to write a blog post! See, in November I went to a 2 day work conference, which happened to be in Glasgow, Scotland. And because that’s a long way from where I live, it seemed sensible to take some extra days off work to have a little break and explore the city. I’d never been to Glasgow, I found it to be a friendly city, with some gorgeous architecture, though sadly many museums are closed due to covid.

So I will be writing a few posts, the first one being about one of Glasgow’s most famous sons ; Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Glasgow is where Mackintosh was born and he graduated art school there (where he met his wife Margaret MacDonald). Charles Rennie Mackintosh is world renowned for his art, his architecture and interior design.

Our first proper day in Glasgow was a Mackintosh day, where we visited ‘The Mackintosh House’ and had afternoon tea at “Mackintosh at The Willow” on Glasgow’s famous Sauchiehall Street.

So first up is The Mackintosh House, which is a really wonderful museum concept.

The Mackintosh House is a meticulous re-assemblage of the main interiors from the Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintoshs’ Glasgow home. The couple lived at 78 Southpark Avenue (originally 6 Florentine Terrace) from 1906 to 1914.

The house was demolished in the early 1960s but the original fixtures were preserved and reassembled, complete with the contents, as an major part of the Hunterian Art Gallery. Virtually the same views and effects of natural light are enjoyed as 78 Southpark Avenue stood only some 100 metres away

The interiors, completed in 1981, have been furnished with the Mackintoshes’ own furniture – all to Mackintosh’s design – and decorated as closely as possible to the original. The selection of bric à brac, fitted carpets, curtains and other soft furnishings was based on contemporary descriptions of the house and photographs of Mackintosh interiors of the period.

When you enter the museum via The Hunterian Art Gallery, the first view is the hallway and front door (complete with some of the Mackintoshes stained glass) . It’s a lovely simple but welcoming hallway with coat rack and bench for removing shoes, and a mirror which I assume is to help reflect light.

The original house was Victorian and the Mackintoshes painstakingly worked to redesign the whole house in their vision, within their means. Which meant some things stayed, such as the Victorian metal work banister.

The only downstairs room recreated is the dining room. One theme going though each room is how they lowered the ceiling by design. This was achieved with beautiful metalwork and stained glass pendant lights that hang low. They also used a type of picture rail and painted and furnished below below it.

The design really is just so stunning, so simple and with obvious influence from Japan. The use of glass and light and reflective materials such a gold on the walls is just so lovely.

Going up the first flight of stairs you enter a double room which is studio and living room. The door has this beautiful inlay of purple stained glass hearts. The whole space is just so light and airy, such a difference to the styles at the time. Almost everything is white/cream/linen coloured. Again the use of a type of picture rail through the room reduces the height and making it feel more cosy. They even had the picture rail go across the full height windows and incorporated some stained glass hereto catch the light. The dark desk in front of the window was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s work desk.

Then you come round a huge wooden chair which divides the room and go into the drawing room part. Everything is so simple looking, yet with so much detail and small pops of colour. This room was also used as as a showroom of sorts to show potential clients, which is why there is a mixture of chair and table styles. In the one corner of the room is Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh’s working desk, which has a beautiful metal inlay in the doors.

The bedroom is up the next set of stairs, it continues the light bright airy style with hints of pink and purple. It was very serene and feminine without being frilly.

There was a further room at the top of the stairs which had some artwork, furniture and the recreation of a child’s bedroom they designed.

Later that day we went had had a fabulous afternoon tea at Mackintosh at the Willow.

There are two Mackintosh tea rooms in Glasgow, but this one is at one of the original Miss Cranstons tearooms site.

The afternoon tea was nice, I liked that it was unlimited tea-so I had Moonlight white tea from China and Jasmine Dragon Pearl. It was cute that everything was served on traditional Willow pattern china.

The starter was a small milk bottle with spicy mulligatawny soup and a slice of black pudding sausage roll. This was followed by the traditional finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. Despite not having eaten much that day, I couldn’t finish off my cakes and took them away in a cardboard box provided by the restaurant. It was a nice afternoon tea, though i found the cakes just a bit too sweet.

Overall it was a very aesthetic day full of beauty and tasty food. Later that evening we visited an kinetic art exhibit called Sharmanka , which I definitely will write a post about very soon.

22 Comments

  1. the high back chairs are so zany looking! I found them really interesting though, so I googled them to find out more about them. the cut out on the dining room chairs are supposed to be a swallow in flight, which I like much better than the ‘frown’ my eyes insist on making me see! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello you! What a fabulous trip. Mackintosh’s design aesthetic was extraordinary (if not comfortable!). I would love to go to Glasgow, the museums are great apparently. I did visit another Mackintosh house, 78 Derngate in Northampton, where the bedroom is particularly stunning.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Encore une belle découverte , à travers mes voyages dans votre blog. L’attente fut longue mais récompensée. Décidément , aucun article n’est prévisible et j’aime les surprises venant de vous. J’ai cru un instant qu’il était question d’ordinateurs. Il y a une correspondance avec l’Art Nouveau du décor de l’opéra Macbeth , à la Scala. A mon tour de revenir à la rédaction!
    Toute cette décoration minimaliste, stylisée ne se démodera jamais. Les vitraux (j’adore les vitraux) sont splendides. Je suis d’accord, le Japon est évoqué. Quel talent ce Mackintosh! A bientôt donc.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I can’t help it, whenever I go anywhere that would’ve had servants I know I would’ve been servant class and find myself thinking about how much work it would be. lol Other people always seem able to imagine living the nicer side of things.

        Liked by 1 person

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