This February, the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) will present the first exhibition devoted to Scottish architect, artist and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, offering the opportunity to view more than 60 career-spanning drawings, watercolors and perspectives.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Mackintosh, born in 1868, became an architectural apprentice at age 16 and a year later embarked on a decade of evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. On display in the exhibition will be a number of his detailed, highly characteristic ink drawings for projects, including the Glasgow Herald Building, Scotland Street School, The Hill House, Queen’s Cross Church and Windyhill.
The exhibition also features Mackintosh’s original designs for the Glasgow School of Art, which he prepared when he was 29. A model showing a cross-section of the school and photographs of the external and internal details illustrate his early focus on designing every aspect of a building—the exterior, interior, furniture and lighting.
Artists house in the country
The exhibition also includes info on the environment in which he was designing these projects, highlighting the city of Glasgow and the opportunities and clients he found there. The exhibition also dives deep into his apprenticeship and early collaborative work and the creation of his own brand. Throughout his career, Mackintosh drew inspiration from traditional Scottish baronial architecture and from his wife. An example of their collaborative work can be seen in the 1901 “House for an Art Lover” designs.
Highlights of the exhibition include: Mackintosh’s watercolors of the Daily Record Building and Glasgow Cathedral, a selection of models of built and unbuilt projects and a large oil portrait of Mackintosh painted by the headmaster at the Glasgow School of Art Francis Newbery.
Design for Scotland Street School
Although celebrated today, Mackintosh achieved little popular success during his lifetime. The majority of his projects were realized between 1896 and 1909, after which he was frustrated by the lack of commissions and patrons, leaving many of his designs unrealized. The exhibition will display a number of his unbuilt projects, including artists’ studios in Chelsea, country lodges, the “House for an Art Lover” (subsequently built in Glasgow the 1990s), all alongside commissioned models.
The exhibition will be on display at RIBA’s Architecture Gallery, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD from Feb. 18 through May 23.