FAMOUS SCOTS: Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Throughout 1999 the city of Glasgow has spent the year being the European City of Architecture and Design. When this salubrious honour was bestowed on the city even some of its citizens raised their eyes in wonderment. For some, despite the sterling efforts of generations of visionary city fathers, the city is still all grime and greyness.
However nothing could be further from the truth. On returning to the city after a few years absence, the visitor or the former inhabitant, cannot avoid being impressed by improvements to the heart of the city.
Modern day architects and designers can be justifiably proud of their creations - but will they reach the levels of recognition enjoyed by one of their illustrious Scottish predecessors - Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The two principal sights to view his highly individual style are the Hillhouse in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire and The Glasgow School of Art. His designs can be seen across an entire range of products from jewellery to reproduction furniture.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow in 1868. By the time he was twenty two years of age he had studied art at the Glasgow School of Art, served his time as a architectural assistant and won a traveling scholarship which he used to tour and study art in Italy.
Through a series of exhibitions of furnishings, posters and graphic designs held in London, Turin, Glasgow and Vienna, he established the reputation for being at the forefront of modernism and Art Nouveau
His design philosophy was firmly based on Scottish tradition and his adaptation of the Scottish Baronial style can be clearly seen in his work.
A major exhibition of his work is currently touring the United States and opens in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on August 3, 1999. It remains at this location until October 12, 1999.
Like a number of famous artists Mackintosh enjoys more fame now than he ever did when he was alive. In fact, in the latter years of his life he lived in fairly strained circumstances bitterly complaining that the world of art and design was passing him by.
He died in London in 1928 but his legacy in his designs will be with us forever.