Charles Rennie Mackintosh
(1868 – 1928)
Charles Rennie Mackintosh is the designer most commonly associated with the Glasgow Style. Born in Glasgow, the son of a police superintendent, he studied part-time at the Glasgow School of Art from 1883 until 1894. As an apprentice architect, he befriended Herbert McNair with whom he worked and studied and fell under the radar of Fra’ Newberry who introduced the two friends to the Macdonald sisters, recognising similarities in their work.
Mackintosh completed numerous commissions in the city, including interior schemes for Miss Cranston's Tea Rooms and designed the Glasgow School of Art in Renfrew Street, a controversial building at the time. He married Margaret Macdonald and in 1914, they left Glasgow, from then on living in various places in England and in France. As tastes and styles changed, Mackintosh was unable or unwilling to adapt. He struggled to earn a living and gained few commissions, eventually electing only to paint. He died in 1928 in London aged 60, his funeral attended by six people. Margaret passed away five years later. In a period of ten years from the peak of his success, he had disappeared into relative obscurity, where he was to remain until around the 1970s.
Examples of his work, including furniture and interiors, are on display at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow and his architecture can be seen in and around the city. The Hunterian Art Gallery houses an important collection of the works of Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald, including a complete re-assemblage of their home at Southpark Avenue. While Mackintosh is considered the rightful lead of the Glasgow Style, to an extent, he has overshadowed the other Glasgow Style designers.