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Essay on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Scottish Architecture.

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In this essay, I will be discussing how Charles Rennie Mackintosh has contributed to Scottish architecture. I will investigate his influences and how he affected architecture in Scotland over his lifetime.
Born on 7th June 1868 in Glasgow, Mackintosh became interested in architecture as a profession from an early age, and, at the age of sixteen secured an apprenticeship with John Hutchison. In order to complete his apprenticeship, he enrolled in the Glasgow School of Art in 1884, where he met Margaret MacDonald, an artist and his future wife. Due to poor health, Mackintosh often spent weekends in the country-side, sometimes travelling with Herbert McNair, a friend who worked at the architect’s firm of Honeyman and Keppie, (where Mackintosh would later become a partner). Mackintosh delighted in drawing from nature, particularly anything with an interesting or striking colour or shape, often returning with samples to draw later in greater detail. Furthermore, from these trips, he came to discover that every leaf and petal was unique, a fact that he often applied in later works. Together with Herbert McNair and his wife Frances MacDonald, (who was Margaret’s sister) Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald would later form a group known as the ‘Glasgow Four’.
The Four were prominent members of the Glasgow School and were known for their distinctive form of art which combined Celtic motifs and the Symbolist style, and later for being leaders of the Art Nouveau movement in Britain. Their art received mixed reviews and was criticised by some; receiving official disapproval from Walter Crane, a highly prolific writer of the time; However they were appreciatively acclaimed as the ‘Spook School’ by Gleeson White, editor of the artistic public...


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...nt of trees, plants and flowers.
The result of the merging of these influences resulted in Mackintosh’s unique style that was an extension of Scottish Baronial architecture, as can been seen in projects Hill House, with the inclusion of towers and crow steps in the construction, which gives it a style that is highly reminiscent of Seventeenth Century town houses. The interior also shows how Mackintosh had moved on from Art Nouveau, as there are few examples of it present in the building. Instead, the interior shows what Howarth calls a ‘notable advance on contemporary work in Britain, or abroad’



Works Cited

K. Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History (London, 2007), p. 74
T. Howarth, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement, (London, 1977) p. 6
M. Fazio, M. Moffett, L. Wodehouse, A World History of Architecture, (London, 2008), p. 434-435


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