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Charles Macintosh

Charles Macintosh


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Charles Macintosh, the son of George Macintosh, was born in Glasgow in 1768. He formed a partnership with Charles Tennant, who ran a cloth bleaching business in Paisley. In 1799 Tennant took out a patent for the manufacture of a dry bleaching powder made from chlorine and slaked lime. It was later claimed that Macintosh was the main person responsible for this development.

In the 1820s Macintosh went into partnership with Hugh Birley, a cotton manufacturer from Manchester. During this time developed a waterproof material and later went into business with Thomas Hancock. Charles Macintosh died in 1843.


Charles Rennie Mackintosh: A Legacy and a Love Story

Behind the beautiful work of the ‘Father of Glasgow’ lay a deep and lasting love.

The fire at The Glasgow School of Art in May 2014 destroyed the magnificent library, devastating devotees of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, particularly Glaswegians, who look on him as the ‘Father of Glasgow’. It did, however, introduce his work to a wider community, many of whom thought it was limited to jewellery and designs destined to appear on carrier bags and tea towels. In fact he did not make jewellery, except one piece, which he designed for his wife, Margaret.

What is perhaps less well known is the enduring love match of Charles and his wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. They met as students at the old Glasgow School of Art in 1883. Little did they know that Charles would one day be the architect of the new Glasgow School of Art.

He was employed by the architectural practice of Honeyman and Keppie which, in 1897, won a competition with his design for the new Glasgow School of Art. Because he was not a partner in the firm, Honeyman and Keppie took the glory. But by then Mackintosh was already making a name for himself elsewhere.

The couple were married in 1900. Their home, which is now replicated at the Hunterian Gallery in Glasgow, was both beautiful and functional. Their collaboration in the design of the famous Willow Tea Rooms, commissioned by a Miss Cranston, was a work of art in itself. Meticulous attention to detail was apparent, right down to the teaspoons, china and the attire of the staff. During those heady days commissions kept them occupied and in addition to the tea rooms Mackintosh designed Hill House for publisher Walter Blackie. Margaret was well known for her fabric designs and paintings. By then Mackintosh had won prizes in Italy and Vienna, where he met Gustav Klimt and other artists.

This talented couple seemed to have the world at their feet but unfortunately their work was better known on the Continent than in Britain and by 1914 commissions had dried up and they moved from Glasgow to Walberswick in Suffolk. It was there that Mackintosh executed exquisite botanical watercolours. This was during the First World War and the local folk mistrusted the man with the strange accent who received mail from Vienna. Mackintosh enjoyed walking along the sea front at night carrying a lantern. The locals thought he was signalling to the German fleet and reported him. He was arrested and imprisoned while his wife was away and it was only on her return that she was able to convince the authorities of their mistake.

By 1923 they were seriously impoverished and decided to leave England to settle in France. Mackintosh’s watercolours during this time show both his love of nature and his architectural perspective. During all their trials and tribulations Margaret was by his side and there was no doubt of their enduring love for each other. One of his letters to her states: ‘You must remember that in all of my architectural efforts you have been the half if not three quarters of them.’

In 1927 Margaret had to return to London for six weeks for medical treatment, leaving Mackintosh alone and lonely in France. Mackintosh, who was mildly dyslexic, wrote almost daily to her, calling the letters his Chronycle, or Chronacle. The letters were never intended for publication but, after their privacy was breached and in order to preserve their authenticity, they were published in their entirety in 2001. Margaret’s replies were never discovered.

From these letters we have a moving insight into the enduring love between Margaret and Charles. He tells her he misses his ‘chum’ and his ‘lover’ and his concern about her health shows that he is worried as well as lonely without her.

This Chronycle seems to be full of fleeting impressions and disconnected sentences but anyone who can read their meaning would find only three words – I love you.

Money was still a problem and he writes on the thinnest paper he can find so that the postage will not be so great, injecting humour into the messages:

Writing lightly so that the weight of the lead in the pencil will not cause extra postage.

Tongue cancer forced him to return to London and he died in 1928, a disappointed and impoverished man whose early promise had not been fulfilled, partly due to the Great War and the lack of commissions during that period. Margaret died five years later and their estate was valued at £88.16s 2d. It is ironic that in 2002 the kimono-style writing desk that he designed was sold at Christie’s for £900,000 and in 2008 Margaret’s painting, The Red Rose and the White Rose, sold at auction for a sum in excess of £1,700,000.

In December 2009 a plaque was erected in Chelsea to celebrate the London years of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His work can be seen at venues across Glasgow and beyond.

Barbara Butcher is the author of The Other Canal (Troubadour, 2011).


Charles Macintosh Biography (1766-1843)

Charles Macintosh was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1766. Although he was supposed to become a merchant, like his father, the young Macintosh had a passion for chemistry and science. By the time he was twenty, he had opened a plantin Glasgow for producing ammonia from coal-gas waste. About the same time, he introduced the manufacture of lead and aluminum acetates to Britain. He also made advances in cloth-dyeing processes, opened Scotland's first alum works, helped devise a method for making bleaching powder, and developed improvedmethods of iron production. Macintosh is best known, however, for the water proof garment that bears his name.

A waste product of the Glasgow gasworks was naphtha, a volatile liquid hydrocarbon mixture. In 1819 Macintosh began experimenting with the naphtha and discovered that it dissolved rubber. Applying the knowledge of textiles he had gained as a dye-maker, Macintosh had the idea of using the liquid rubber to waterproof fabrics. He painted one side of wool cloth with the rubber solution,then laid a second thickness of cloth over it. The rubber interior made theresulting sandwich of cloth waterproof.

Macintosh patented his invention in 1823. Within a year, the chemist had a flourishing factory in Manchester, England, producing rainproof cloth for the British military, the Franklin Arctic expedition, and the general public. Thomas Hancock joined Macintosh and his other partners around 1829. Charles Macintosh & Company became famous for its "Macintosh Coat," the world's firstraincoat, later known popularly as the mackintosh. (Where the k came from is a mystery.)

Macintosh was honored for his contributions to chemistry by his election in 1823 as a fellow of the Royal Society. He died at Dunchattan, near Glasgow, in1843.


Macintosh, Charles

Macintosh, Charles (1766�). Industrial chemist. Macintosh, born in Glasgow, was an extremely inventive scientist, who experimented with the production of dyestuffs, alum, steel, and bleaching powder. His work on possible uses for coal naphtha, a by-product of the gas industry, led to a patent in 1823 for producing waterproof clothing, using India rubber dissolved in naphtha. His factory at Manchester was taken over by the North British Rubber Company.

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Capable partner on the path to success

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1913)

It was not long before Thomas Hancock (1786 &ndash 1865), the founder of the British rubber industry, saw the potential of the invention and acquired a licence from Charles Macintosh to produce double-layer, waterproof materials. Hancock had, incidentally, found out that rubber becomes plastic and formable when it is rolled, a property that enabled rubber to be used on an industrial scale. On the basis of the vulcanisation process developed by Charles Goodyear (1800 &ndash 1860), an American chemist and inventor of such products as hard rubber (ebonite), Hancock designed and built rubber processing machines. To make sure that a complete picture is presented, it should be mentioned here that the two of them &ndash Goodyear and Hancock &ndash had filed a patent for the vulcanisation process. In a subsequent patent dispute, priority was assigned to Goodyear.

So Thomas Hancock took Charles Macintosh&rsquo invention, i.e. the impregnation of textiles, and improved it via the vulcanisation process for which he filed a patent application in 1843. Initial problems with rubberisation, such as the intensive odour, stiffness and poor washability in hot water, were overcome. The authentic Macintosh raincoats were entirely hand-made and had glued rather than sewn seams. An interesting fact on the side: in the course of time, it became more common to spell the name with &ldquock&rdquo, probably due to the fact that the brand name needed to be publicised not only in England but also worldwide and/or because spelling it with &ldquock&rdquo was more usual at the international level.

Macintosh recognised what his licensee Hancock had achieved and invited him to join his company Charles Macintosh & Co. as a partner in 1831. It was the start of a long and successful partnership. The names Macintosh (&ldquomac&rdquo) and Mackintosh (&ldquomack&rdquo) still guarantee excellent rain clothing, the origins of which all the way back to 1824, to this day.


Story of a Scottish Masterpiece, and the Futuristic Shield Set to Save It

Since last June, a futuristic shield has protected a home as beautiful as it is fragile. Hill House, among the most iconic pieces of Art Nouveau architecture within the United Kingdom, was designed in 1902 by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and completed in 1904.

115 years of history is a lot for any building to bear, scored by deep scars. But what's truly endangered the home, isn't time &mdash it&rsquos rain. In Helensburg, on the estuary of the Clyde River, where the Hill House sits, an umbrella is needed for an average of 190 days a year. Drop after drop, year after year, the home was literally drenched. Fault was passed on to the Portland cement, unsuitable for waterproofing the structure, and which immediately tormented the home's inhabitants. According to legend, when the plaster was still fresh, servants rushed from room to room to replace buckets under the dripping ceilings.

Before the damages became irreparable, the National Trust for Scotland (who has owned the property since 1982) decided to employ an extreme intervention, commissioning London-based studio Carmody Groarke to realize a completely original protective shell. Renamed Hill House Box at the cost of 4.5 million sterlings, the property was embraced with a semitransparent shell in what is now the largest chainmail structure in the world.

The steel skeleton weighing in at 165 tons, acts as a frame onto which a metallic net composed of 32.4 million rings is attached. The idea at the base of the project was to screen the property without hiding it, leaving the Hill House visible under its steel cloak, even during the long and complex renovation process. In the garden, trees continue to grow and people can explore the historic property from unique angles as they cross the raised walkways winding through the protective volume.

According to technical estimates, the structure will take three years to dry out to accelerate the process would come at the risk of creating further damage. After that, the real restoration process can begin &mdash an onerous operation that may take years. Because of this, the Hill House Box will remain the way it is for seven to ten years.

Mackintosh loved to experiment, so were the architect alive today, he&rsquod probably enjoy the ingenious protective shield from Carmody Groarke. Born in Glasgow in 1868, the Scottish architect and artist is celebrated today as a pioneer of modernism, capable of fusing Scottish and Japanese influences with Art Nouveau for a unique aesthetic. Together with his wife Margaret MacDonald, his sister Frances, and his friend Herbert McNair, he modeled what would later become &ldquoGlasgow Style&rdquo.

While influential, Mackintosh realized relatively few projects concentrated in a brief period of 10 years, from 1895 to 1905. He was at the apex of his career when editor Walter Black commissioned the creative for his Hill House. The design drew on the vernacular style of Scottish villages and studies of genuine simplicity, far from the gothic and classic charm of the era. Mackintosh looked to tradition, but acted in the future. He spent a great deal of time with the Black family, until he was sure he had captured their needs and habits in the new design. For him, the home had to be functional and articulated around the needs of its inhabitants. This approach, combined with an unconventional aesthetic and experimental solutions of the time, made Hill House an immediate star around the globe, and even Bauhaus would soon count it as an inspiration.

But what makes the historic home so special? First off, the contrast between robust and bare exteriors, and exquisitely decorated interiors, flaunting Eastern themes and Art Nouveau or Art Deco details. This same dualism also characterizes the style of the single rooms &mdash some more &ldquofeminine&rdquo and others more &ldquovirile&rdquo. This detail reflects the dual identity of the design: Mackintosh worked next to his wife, Margaret, a great artist who helped forge the physical poetry of the Hill House.

The couple concentrated particularly on the main spaces of the home: the corridor, the library, the bedroom, and the living area. The sitting room and library were both typically masculine spaces, defined by strong lines and geometries, which took to the elegant robustness of dark wood, providing both warmth and sobriety. The wooden cladding was enriched with segments of colored glass and organic printed motifs.

On the other hand, the living area and the main bedroom were left white, for which Mackintosh later became famous. These rigorous, large, and light-filled spaces were unusual in the early 20 th century. On the ivory colored walls in the master bedroom, Margaret&rsquos delicate touch is still felt with embroidered panels.

The couple curated every detail of the home together, from ornaments to custom-made furniture. Themes traced back to Mackintosh can be found throughout, including a checkered pattern, often in the form of intersected elements in wood, or a grid pattern, which was applied to tables and chairs. Mackintosh exalted geometry, which was then mitigated by Margaret&rsquos organic decorations, like the stylized roses printed on walls and fabrics.

Those who&rsquod like to visit the house up close still can, with an extra special experience: walking 15 meters off the ground between the chimneys and the roof of the Hill House, along the futuristic shield set to save it.


Charles Rennie Mackintosh - Biography and Legacy

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was the fourth of eleven children, and one of seven to survive infancy, born to parents Margaret Rennie and William Mackintosh. His father was a policeman whilst his mother was usually bedridden due to being so often pregnant, recovering from birth, or unwell. Mackintosh's large - mainly female - family was tight knit and lavished him with love and affection. The family's first tenement was situated on Parson Street overlooking the gothic Glasgow Necropolis their father tended a vegetable garden and such became an early influence on Mackintosh who developed an avid interest in organic and botanical form and growth. From a young age Mackintosh did lots of drawing and used his sketchbooks as a way to withdraw from the world and to manage difficulties understanding the emotions of others as well as his own outbursts of rage. Also during childhood, Mackintosh was afflicted with rheumatic fever this resulted in a droop on one side of his face and developed into a signature feature of his appearance.

The aspiring, upper-working-class family managed to buy a two-story terraced house in Glasgow's new residential suburbs. Here Mackintosh first had his own room, a study bedroom in a large basement. Even in this home, one of Mackintosh's earliest dwellings, he immediately touched the place up with beautiful artistic delicacy remodeling the fireplace and adding distinctive decorative friezes to the walls.

Education and Early Training

In 1877 Mackintosh began his studies at Allan Glen's High School where he specialized in architectural and technical drawing. From the age of 15 to 25 he studied part time at the Glasgow School of Art while also interning with renowned architect John Hutchinson, already receiving challenging commissions. His family always supported him, but often voiced concerns regarding his heavy workload. Mackintosh trained as a painter under the guidance of the director of the school at the time, Francis Newberry. Newberry encouraged a looser style in painting and suggested architecture classes. Mackintosh's mother died when he was 17, a sad event which brought the family even closer together. After this Mackintosh travelled around Europe, spending most of his time in Italy, filling sketchbooks with views of Romanesque, Byzantine, and Gothic buildings but generally avoiding the Classical.

Following his return to Glasgow in 1889, Mackintosh was offered a job by the reputable architecture firm Honeyman and Keppie where he began to develop and promote his own style and philosophy. It was also here, working in an office environment, that the young architect started to display personal difficulties dealing with compromise. He became engaged to John Kelpie's sister Jessie in 1891, but when he treated her badly and broke off the engagement it resulted in strain on his position within the firm. In 1892 Mackintosh met fellow artist Herbert McNair, who was to become his best friend and the impressive and independent artist Margaret Macdonald, who would soon become his wife.

The Immortals (c. 1894) portrait hangs on the wall of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Scotland and depicts the group, "The Immortals", the most progressive artists and architects living in Glasgow at this time. Within is the smaller group, "The Four", which includes Mackintosh, McNair, and the Macdonald sisters.

Mature Period

In 1897 Honeyman and Keppie won the commission for the redesign for the Glasgow School of Art. Somewhat disappointingly however, at the opening ceremony for the building in 1899, Keppie was introduced as the architect responsible, despite the fact that this was mainly Mackintosh's achievement (and also happened to be his first major work). Understandably, Mackintosh felt the lack of appropriate credit somewhat acutely and mentioned to his friend and fellow designer, Hermann Muthesius, "I hope when brighter days come, I shall be able to work for myself entirely and claim my work as mine." Aside from his unacknowledged building projects, even Mackintosh's furniture designs were at first poorly received in his hometown of Glasgow. Luckily, his long-term supporter and teacher, Francis Newberry, sent these innovative designs to artists in Belgium where they were praised, a success that marked the beginning of Mackintosh's better reception on the continent. Such burgeoning connections across the channel eventually amounted to an invitation to make work for the 8 th Secessionist Exhibition in Vienna (1900) and to include work in the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Turin (1902).

Mackintosh married Margaret Macdonald in 1900 and the couple moved into a flat at 120 Mains Street where they welcomed and hosted many artists visiting from mainland Europe. These early years of marriage were a time of peace and intense creativity they never had children but took great joy in caring for the children of friends. Mackintosh's nieces and nephews were often visitors to the flat and it was here that they had their first tastes of many exquisite chocolates and sweets sent from Vienna. The flat was full of love, laughter, delicious cake - near a roaring fire. During this period, Mackintosh received some major private architectural commissions in and around Glasgow including the design of a number of tea rooms for the business woman, Catherine Cranston, and the Hill House, which was to become the personal residence for publisher, Walter Blackie. He was given vast creative freedom on both of these projects, and the results were magnificent.

Mackintosh had met Catherine Cranston, a Glasgow entrepreneur, early in his career. Cranston was the daughter of a wealthy tea merchant and strongly believed in temperance. She derived the idea of creating a series of "art tea rooms" (not only a place to drink tea, but also a sanctuary where one could enjoy and ponder art), and as such, between 1896 and 1917, Mackintosh and Macdonald designed and re-styled all four of her Glasgow tea rooms. The Willow Tearooms is perhaps the most important of the four commissions because this was the only one for which Mackintosh had full control over all architectural and interior design details. The rooms were lavish, with different color schemes for men and women and a magnificent "Room Deluxe" which included one of Macdonald's most beautiful gesso panels.

In 1904, Mackintosh was offered a partnership at Honeyman and Keppie (he would no longer be only an employee, but a managing partner), and two years later the couple moved into their new home. This was the largest property that the Mackintoshes ever owned. They remained here from 1906 to 1914, and for the earlier years this was a highly inspired and creative time for the couple. Florentine Terrace was in the genteel West End suburb of Hillhead, which represented a move up the social ladder for Mackintosh. He had moved away from the grimy, industrial East End to an area with parks, a progressive art gallery, and the new location for the city's university. The couple made the dwelling much more open plan (common now but not at all at the time), and they had a garden and even electricity. Visitors described the house as "an oasis" and "a delight", but aside from his exciting work on the west wing of The Glasgow School of Art, work was not as fluid and easy to come by as it was when living in the Mains Street flat.

In 1907, Mackintosh's plans for the second half of the Glasgow School of Art were approved and subsequently completed in 1909. Inaccurately for the second time, John Keppie was credited as the lead architect on the project, "with assistance from Charles R Mackintosh". It was another difficult moment for Mackintosh the year before his father had died of bronchitis aggravated by heart problems and at the same time he himself was suffering from depression, alcoholism, and bouts of pneumonia. Due to increasing anti-social behavior, Mackintosh was asked to leave the Keppie firm, signifying the end of an era, and also of his great contribution to the city of Glasgow.

Late Period

In the summer of 1914 Mackintosh and Macdonald moved to the rural, (so-called) artist haven of Walberswick, in Suffolk. Initially they enjoyed the new location, as they rediscovered drawing and worked on a series of botanical watercolors in close collaboration. Following the outbreak of World War I however, Mackintosh was briefly arrested under suspicion of being a German spy due to his extensive correspondence with Vienna and his unusual ways and mannerisms he was soon released without charge but expelled from the town anyway because locals were not happy with his residence there. Shunned once again, the couple moved to London where Mackintosh became reclusive and found it extremely difficult to secure work. Whilst Macdonald socialized and enjoyed the city's highly active bohemian art scene, Mackintosh suffered from deteriorating mental health and felt the strains of financial struggle.

In search of sunshine and a lower cost of living, the couple moved to Port Vendres, a coastal town in the South of France in 1923. This new place and way of life imbued Mackintosh with happiness and reinvigorated his creative energies he greatly enjoyed painting the surrounding landscape. Regrettably however, both Macdonald and Mackintosh began to suffer from ill health and were forced to return to London for medical treatment. Mackintosh had a cancerous growth on his tongue and had to have regular appointments at Westminster Hospital. Even though sick, and undergoing treatment, while at the hospital the dedicated artist helped students with their anatomical drawings and continued to draw prolifically himself, although at this point he had stopped signing his works. Mackintosh sadly lost his power of speech and reportedly died holding a pencil in his hand in 1928. There was a small ceremony at Golders Green crematorium, and while there was no notice in the Scottish press, The Times of London did appropriately acknowledge that "[t]he whole modern movement in Europe looks to him as one of its chief originators."


MacIntosh Clan

MacIntosh Clan Motto: Touch Not The Cat Bot A Glove (Touch not this cat without a glove).

History of Clan MacIntosh/Mackintosh:
Traditionally the founder of this Clan is said to have been a son of MacDuff, the ancestor of the earls of Fife. The name, in translation from the Gaelic, means “Son of the Thane or Leader.”

Shaw MacDuff took part in an expedition with Malcolm IV in 1160 and was appointed Constable of Inverness Castle. His Son, Shaw, succeeded him. Ferquhar, 5th Chief, fought against King Haakon of Norway at the Battle of Largs in 1263. The 6th Chief was betrothed to Eva, heiress of Clan Chattan in 1291. She brought with her lands in Glenloy and Locharkaig in Lochaber, which caused friction over ownership with the Camerons, the Gordons, and the MacDonalds of Keppoch. From this point onwards, the Mackintoshes assumed the Chiefship of Clan Chattan.

The Mackintoshes fought for the Marquis of Montrose, and for the Old Pretender at the Battle of Preston in 1815. During the 1745 Uprising, Angus, 22nd Chief of Mackintosh was serving with the Black Watch regiment, so his wife Anne, a daughter of Farquharson of Invercauld, rallied the Clan, handing over command to Alexander MacGillivray of Dunmaglass. Although heroic, Clan Chattan suffered serious losses at the Battle of Culloden.

In 1938, on the death of the 38th Chief, the Chiefship of Mackintosh passed to Vice-Admiral Lachlan Mackintosh of Mackintosh. Four years later the Lord Lyon Court ruled that the Chiefship of Clan Chattan should pass to Duncan Mackintosh of Torcastle.

In 1735, John Mor MacIntosh and two of his cousins arrived in Savannah, America from Scotland. His descendant, Captain William MacIntosh, married the Princess and heiress of the Creek Indian Nation, and became the father of William MacIntosh (1778- 1825), Chief of the Creek Nation.

Donald Mackintosh (1743-1808) was Keeper of Gaelic Records for the Highland Society in 1801. Sir James Mackintosh (1765-1811) was a Judge in Bombay and later a Member of Parliament for Nairn. Charles Macintosh (1766-1843), born in Glasgow, invented the waterproofing which carries his name. Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) became an architect and designer in Glasgow and, among other commissions, created Glasgow School of Art. John Mackintosh (1883-1907) wrote History of Civilisation in Scotland.

Surname distribution in Scotland: The MacIntosh surname is widespread right across the North of Scotland. The highest populations can be found in Aberdeenshire (includes all of the historic counties of Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire with part of Banffshire), Aberdeen City, Moray (also includes a large area of historic Banffshire), Highland (including the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Sutherland, Nairnshire and Ross and Cromarty), Angus (Forfarshire) and Dundee City.

Places of Interest:
Moy, Inverness-shire. Seat of Mackintosh Chief.

Petty Parish Church, on Moray Firth, Inverness-shire. Burial place of Mackintosh chiefs.
Mulroy, near Roy Bridge, Keppoch, Lochaber. The last clan battle in Scotland was fought here in Charles II's reign between the Mackintoshes and Clan Ranald.

Glasgow College of Art, Glasgow. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1896.

Hill House, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1902. Owned by National Trust for Scotland.

Associated family names (Septs): Adamson, Ayson, Cash, Clark, Clarke, Clarkson, Clerk, Combie, Crearer, Crerar, Dallas, Doles, Eason, Easson, Eggie, Eggo, Elder, Esson, Glennie, Gelnny, Hardie, Hardy, Heggie, Higgison, Hosick, Hossack, Leary, MacAndrew, Macartney, Macay, MacCaish, MacCardney, MacCartney, MacCash, MacCause, MacClery, Maccolm, MacComas, MacCombie, MacCombich, MacCombie, MacComie, MacConchie, MacFail, MacFall, MacFauld, MacGlashan, MacGlashen, MacHardie, MacHardy, MacKeggie, MacKieson, MacKillican, MacKintosh, MacLear, MacLeary, MacLehose, MacLerie, MacNevin, MacNiven, Macomie, Macomish, MacPhail, MacRitchie, MacTause, MacTavish, MacThomas, MacVail, Nairn, Nairne, Nevison, Niven, Noble, Paul, Ripley, Ritchie, Sivenwright, Tarrell, Taweson, Tawse, Thom, Thoms, Tosh, Toshach.


Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (7 June 1868 – 10 December 1928) was a Scottish architect, designer, water colourist and artist. His artistic approach had much in common with European Symbolism. His work, alongside that of his wife Margaret Macdonald, was influential on European design movements such as Art Nouveau and Secessionism. He was born in Glasgow and died in London.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born at 70 Parson Street, Townhead, Glasgow, on 7 June 1868, the fourth of eleven children and second son of William McIntosh, a superintendent and chief clerk of the City of Glasgow Police, and his wife, Margaret Rennie. Mackintosh grew up in the Townhead and Dennistoun (Firpark Terrace) areas of Glasgow, and he attended Reid's Public School and the Allan Glen's Institution.

In 1890 Mackintosh was the second winner of the Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship, set up for the "furtherance of the study of ancient classic architecture, with special reference to the principles illustrated in Mr. Thomson's works."

He changed the spelling of his name from 'McIntosh' to 'Mackintosh' for unknown reasons, as his father did before him, around 1893. Confusion continues to surround the use of his name with 'Rennie' sometimes incorrectly substituted for his first name of 'Charles'. The modern use of 'Rennie Mackintosh' as a surname is also incorrect and he was never known as such in his lifetime 'Rennie' being a middle name which he used often in writing his name. Signatures took various forms including 'C.R. Mackintosh' and 'Chas. R. Mackintosh.'

Upon his return, he resumed work with the Honeyman & Keppie architectural practice where he started his first major architectural project, the Glasgow Herald Building (now known as The Lighthouse), in 1899. He was engaged to marry his employer's sister, Jessie Keppie.

Around 1892, Mackintosh met fellow artist Margaret Macdonald at the Glasgow School of Art. He and fellow student Herbert MacNair, also an apprentice at Honeyman and Keppie, were introduced to Margaret and her sister Frances MacDonald by the head of the Glasgow School of Art, Francis Henry Newbery, who saw similarities in their work. Margaret and Charles married on 22 August 1900. The couple had no children. MacNair and Frances also married the previous year. The group worked collaboratively and came to be known as "The Four", and were prominent figures in Glasgow Style art and design.

In 1904, after he had completed several successful building designs, Mackintosh became a partner in Honeyman & Keppie, and the company became Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh. When economic hardships were causing many architectural practices to close, in 1913, he resigned from the partnership and attempted to open his own practice.

Mackintosh lived most of his life in the city of Glasgow. Located on the banks of the River Clyde, during the Industrial Revolution, the city had one of the greatest production centres of heavy engineering and shipbuilding in the world. As the city grew and prospered, a faster response to the high demand for consumer goods and arts was necessary. Industrialized, mass-produced items started to gain popularity. Along with the Industrial Revolution, Asian style and emerging modernist ideas also influenced Mackintosh's designs. When the Japanese isolationist regime softened, they opened themselves to globalisation resulting in notable Japanese influence around the world. Glasgow's link with the eastern country became particularly close with shipyards building at the River Clyde being exposed to Japanese navy and training engineers. Japanese design became more accessible and gained great popularity. In fact, it became so popular and so incessantly appropriated and reproduced by Western artists, that the Western World's fascination and preoccupation with Japanese art gave rise to the new term, Japonism or Japonisme.

This is a part of the Wikipedia article used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). The full text of the article is here →


Charles Rennie Mackintosh Artworks

Mackintosh redesigned both the interior and exterior of the Glasgow School of Art to stand as a shining example of his early, forward-looking, pluralist architecture. The building was made of stone in order to reference Scottish Baronial tower houses, which Mackintosh considered incredibly modern in their original use of iron and glass. Mackintosh was always sensitive to surrounding architecture and existing national traditions but at the same time added his own free style aesthetics on the left-hand side of the building there is an entrance reminiscent of an ancient ziggurat built to unusual, non-classical proportions. As such he seamlessly merges a wide variety of different influences.

Perhaps most prominently, and especially in the interior, Mackintosh displays his interest in Japanese design as well as overall restrained decorative elements. He created a functional iron screen on the North facade which bears similarity to Japanese heraldic emblems or 'mon'. The exterior of the building served as notable inspiration for Bauhaus director Walter Gropius' Fagus Factory (1911-13), through its very similar rectilinear composition and window design.

From a philosophical perspective, Mackintosh sought to unite the body and spirit, and beauty and function through perfectly designed interior space. The library was built at the heart of the art school building and inside the space was carefully divided by wooden beams akin to Japanese houses and illuminated by large windows. This part of the facade stands in contrast to the East Front where windows were kept to a minimum. Art historian Alan Crawford described this part of the building, "a pause in the design, such as occurs between the chapters of a book or the verses of a poem."

The studio spaces within were simple and austere but were decorated - by balancing contrast - with exuberant floral ironwork akin to Hector Guimard's classic Art Nouveau designs for the Paris Metro (1900). Art historian Nikolaus Pevsner claimed such juxtapositions as "essential to grasp the fusion in his art of puritanism with sensuality." Traditionally furniture was viewed as an extension of architecture but for Mackintosh it served as more of a complement. The square chandeliers in the library as well as the curved and colorful shapes in the stained glass windows clearly highlight the artist's interest in Symbolism, and overall, the building has been dubbed by writer Cairney as "Mackintosh's self-portrait" and by the design historians the Fiells as "Mackintosh's masterwork".

Interior for Mackintosh's Mains Street Flat

Mackintosh began to design the interior for his own Glasgow flat shortly before his marriage to Margaret Macdonald, and the two of them moved in soon afterwards. While Mackintosh largely left the original features intact he rearranged the rooms to create what Cairney has praised as a "living, three-dimensional work of art, a breathtaking space within four square walls". One of Mackintosh's friends, Muthesius, described the home as a "fairy-tale world" and noted that even a book left out would disturb the minimalist and perfectly harmonious scheme. Even the fireplace had been lovingly modified with a curved wooden top piece in order to soften it and to make the overall space feel more homely. The couple's furniture, pictures, and cushions for the cats were added.

There is a strong disregard for materialism illustrated by the clean lines, delicate coloring, and generally uncluttered interior. As such we are presented with a stark contrast to the heavily draped, ornate, and dark more typical British Victorian interior. Some furniture was brought from Mackintosh's Regent Park dwelling and modified slightly, whilst the tables, a smoker's cabinet for the dining room, a white writing desk and new decorative panels by Macdonald were all made specifically for the new residence. Quiet complementary color schemes were created, mostly grey and white, or brown, black and white (in the dining room), and this was all off set and completed by select Japanese prints and subtle arrangements of twigs and flowers.

It has been suggested by art historian Pamela Robertson, that the photographs taken of this flat could be considered misleading, for they were all taken in black and white. They were in fact highly interested in color and drawn to the enriching effect that touches of color could have. For example, the panels in the artists' bedroom were green and their stained glass was purple. They did not omit color as much as create a neutral space so that one could actually see color, a bit like a gallery in that respect.

Installation for the Eighth Secessionist Exhibition

In 1900 Mackintosh and Macdonald were invited by the architect and figurehead of the Viennese Secession, Josef Hoffman to present a collaborative design for "The Scottish Room" at the 8th annual exhibition of the movement held in Vienna. The result was a recreation of one of the many tea room interiors that Mackintosh had designed in Glasgow. Changes were made furnishing the space however, making it relatively sparse overall, but with a show-stopping piece by Macdonald hanging on the wall. Macdonald had made a large oil-painted gesso on hessian piece (her typical media) that featured five women depicted in her signature overlapping and floral style. It had originally been made for Miss Cranston's Ingram Street Tea Room and named The May Queen. Admired greatly by Mackintosh, he said of his wife's work, "Margaret has genius, I have only talent".

Some of the furniture included was in fact brought from the couple's Mains Street flat, whilst other pieces were made especially for the space. A magazine at the time, The Studio commented on the spirituality of the installation "The composition forms an organic whole. the effect of sweet repose filling the soul." Muthesius, writing for Die Kunst, praised this installation as having "a seminal influence on the emerging new vocabulary of forms, especially and continuously in Vienna."

Mackintosh's biographer, Thomas Howarth wrote that after this exhibition the "the entire Viennese movement blazed into new life" with an "outpouring of decorative work and furnishing. bearing a striking superficial resemblance to that of Mackintosh." Two of the best examples of direct influence following Mackintosh's iconic display are Hoffman's Sitzmachine Armchair (1905) and Gustav Klimt's Beethoven gesso frieze (1902), although Klimt is more likely to have been influenced by the work of Macdonald.

Room de Luxe in the Willow Tearooms

Tea rooms were a popular alternative to working men's clubs in Glasgow and had arisen from the campaigns of Scotland's vibrant Temperance movement (which stood against the consumption of alcohol). Catherine Cranston opened a number of these tea rooms in Glasgow and all were designed by Mackintosh, to whom Cranston had entrusted complete creative freedom.

The Willow Tearooms, shown here as they appear now, were originally decorated with dark timber beam ceilings that were once again heavily inspired by Japanese design. Upon entering the building's entirely white facade, visitors were naturally guided around the space by the tall back chairs and assortment of decorative metal screens. A repetitive series of wall panels showcased images of roses, peacocks, tall women, and fruits. The motifs were all directly related to systems of thought outlined by the Symbolist avant-garde and accordingly, often spurred controversy as visitors read sexual connotations in the work. Art historian, Alan Crawford interpreted these opinions to highlight "a gap between public, ornamental functions and private, symbolic meanings."

Mostly, such controversy was encouraged in order to increase footfall through the tea room. Mackintosh even designed the dresses and chokers of the serving waitresses, arranged and ordered the flowers, and designed different colored bells for ordering with glass balls which dropped to the kitchen. This was indeed a "total design", and the famous architecture historian, Nikolaus Pevsner noted that "[i]n the Cranston tea-rooms extraordinary effects were created in the surroundings. ".

Hill House

This building once again highlights Mackintosh's eclectic tastes and influences. He said himself, "It is not an Italian Villa, an English Mansion House, a Swiss Chalet, or a Scotch House. It is a Dwelling House." Here in particular, as well as traces of the Scottish Baronial style, there is also strong influence coming from the Arts & Crafts movement, and more specifically, from the architecture of CFA Voysey.

Incredibly thick walls push the front door into a recessed portico so it appears like a portal between two different worlds, that of Mackintosh, and that of everyone else. Indeed, it was the interior of this building that was designed first and the Fiells note that "each of his architectural and interior projects must be considered as complete organic unities in which the whole was very much more important than the sum of the individual parts." The library, similar in part to that of the Glasgow School of Art was built of tall, dark wood and surrounded by highly colored and enameled glass. Light floods into the house from the top of the stairs and the reflections from stained glass windows - featuring flowers and nude women - change as the sun moves throughout the day. For the exterior, Mackintosh presented his usual asymmetrical window organization, and solid and yet still somehow soft-looking walls.

Since the terrible fires at The Glasgow School of Art, Hill House is now the only Mackintosh building to still stand in its entirety.

Stone, iron, glass, wood, textiles

Fritillaria

By 1900 Mackintosh's flower studies had begun to emerge as an important part of his overall body of work. Having left London and staying in Walberswick in Suffolk he completed approximately 30 flower watercolors in a standard format intended for a book publication. Unfortunately this plan did not come to fruition due to the onset of the First World War.

In this example the washes are saturated while still stylized and as such, Cairney noted that they show "botanical exactness coupled with. artistic fancy." Many of Mackintosh's flower paintings and other botanical illustrations were created in collaboration with Margaret Macdonald. Indeed they are signed with both artists' initials, 'CRM MMM'. The font of this text is a special one invented by Mackintosh and links this later work to the posters that he had produced earlier in his career. Mackintosh noted how "Art is the Flower - Life is the green leaf. Let every artist strive to make his flower a beautiful living thing. you must offer the flowers of the art that is in you - the symbols of all that is noble - and beautiful - and inspiring." This watercolor also serves as an important midway point between earlier Symbolist watercolors that were translated into design features, and his more commercially minded landscape paintings made whilst living in France.


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