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Charles R. Mackintosh


Charles Rennie Mackintosh (born 7. June 1868 in Glasgow/Scotland; died 10. December 1928 in London/England) was perhaps the most important proponent of Art Nouveau in the United Kingdom and one of the most influential Scottish designers and architects of all time. After beginning his career as an apprentice to Glasgow architect John Hutchinson, Mackintosh moved in 1889 to the larger Honeyman and Keppie practice. At the same time he enrolled in several drawing and design classes at Glasgow School of Art, at that time one of the most important art colleges in Europe. A prestigous talent, Mackintosh won numerous prizes including in 1890 the coveted Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship which enabled him to undertake a study tour of Italy. Mackintosh's most important architectural work, was also his first major project - a new building for the Glasgow School of Art, started in 1896. Other notable Mackintosh designs include Scotland Street School, Glasgow and Hill House, Helensburgh for which Mackintosh also designed furniture including the "Hill House Chair" . One of Mackintosh's most fruitful co-operations was with Catherine Cranston - and at the same time one that has proved to be Mackintoschs lasting legacy. In 1896 George Walton was commissioned to design a room for one of her tearooms, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed murals for the walls. Two years later Walton was asked to work on a second tearoom for which Mackintosh designed the furniture, including his first "trademark" high back chairs - the so called Argyle Chair.

In 1900 Miss Cranston gave Mackintosh his first direct commission to design a room at her Ingram Street Tearoom, and then three years later the commission for a complete building; the Willow Tearooms on Argyle Street - a work that today still draws tourists from around the world. For the Willow Tearooms, Charles Rennie Mackinstosh not only designed the building but also the finer details, creating the interior design, the furniture - including the world renowned Willow Chair - and even the waitresses uniforms. The economic downturn of the early 20th century, couple to the outbreak of the Great War badly affected Mackinstosh and he and his wife moved to France where although Mackinstosh drew and designed, very few projects were even realised. In 1928 Charles Rennie Mackintosh died of cancer aged 60.