Charles Rennie Mackintosh

1868 - 1928

Charles Rennie Mackintosh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Architect and designer. Mackintosh was born in Dennistoun, Glasgow, the son of a police superintendent. He became an apprentice architect at the age of 16 and studied in the evenings at Glasgow School of Art, winning several prizes. Mackintosh became an influential designer, whose style was a unique blend of Art Nouveau and Scottish Celtic traditionalism. In 1893, he completed his first major project, the Glasgow Herald building, now the Lighthouse, a centre for architecture and design. His most famous building is the Glasgow School of Art, but his work extended to interior designs, furniture, sketches and watercolour paintings.

In 1900, Mackintosh married Margaret MacDonald (1865 - 1933), a talented artist and designer in her own right, who had considerable influence on his work.

By 1910 his work was regarded as old-fashioned and Mackintosh sank into depression, drinking heavily and this led to the termination of his partnership (1913). The following year the Mackintoshes moved to Suffolk (England), but he was accused of being a German spy and the couple left for Chelsea in London. By 1924, Mackintosh had given up architecture. With his wife, he travelled around the Mediterranean, settling at Port Vendres in France, where Mackintosh showed his skill as a superb landscape water-colourist.

He returned to London to receive treatment for cancer (1927), but died the following year. His designs were much copied by his contemporaries and retain immense commercial popularity internationally today.

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