art nouveau, scots-style

From my bookshelves: Mackintosh, by Tamsin Pickeral (Flame Tree Publishing, London: 2005). Part of “The World’s Greatest Art” series.

Glasgow-born Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 to 1928) was a leading light of Art Nouveau design in the United Kingdom. With his wife, artist and designer Margaret MacDonald, he created a body of work that today is still admired for its lightness, airiness, and singular vision.

This is an art book, on each page a photograph showing some aspect of Mackintosh’s work, from architecture and interiors to paintings and textiles.

He designed homes and buildings from without to within, preferring to keep a tight control on all artistic aspects of a project. He often worked with his wife, whose style mirrored his own; some critics say she was the better artist and that she influenced him. It was Mackintosh’s gift to present the entirety of their collaboration as a package when working on projects.

Motto image here.

His style is unmistakable and enduring; a font that he designed for signage (as was used for the Willow Tea Rooms) is still as fresh and timeless as when he created it over a hundred years ago.

A design for a music room, with panels by MacDonald, that they entered in the “House for an Art Lover” competition in 1901, reflects the changing sensibilities of the period away from the dark and heavy Victorian aesthetic that had been the style for decades, towards a freer, lighter, more artistic trend.  The design duo favored white backgrounds, bright pastels, and florals, with a stylized pink rose their signature motif.

Music Room interior here.

The clean, simple lines, vibrant colors from nature, and organic curves paired with lines and angles represent the successful blending of art and logic, of  beauty and science, that was the zeitgeist of their world.

Glass panel detail showing the stylized “Mackintosh Rose”. Image here.

CRM portrait here. Caveat: these particular images are not in the book.

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1 Comment on art nouveau, scots-style

  1. Bea
    20 March 2011 at 12:46 pm (3396 days ago)

    Oh my goodness! That room is absolutely beautiful! I can imagine myself spending a long time in there…

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