Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lachlan Goudie on Charles Rennie Mackintosh - on iPlayer

On 5th June 2018, BBC Scotland broadcast a programme on Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928) - Mackintosh - Glasgow's Neglected Genius.

The three ages of Charles Rennie Mackintosh
This is because 2018 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of the celebrated Glasgow architect, designer and artist - who was born on 7 June 1868.

On 16th June 2018, his iconic 'work of art' - the Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art  - which comprised both the architecture of the building and its internal fixtures and fittings and helped give him an international reputation - was completely gutted in a massive fire (see yesterday post ANOTHER Major Fire at Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art)

However, let's not forget that Charles Rennie Mackintosh made a lot of art in his lifetime and most of it is celebrated in this programme.

You can view the programme on BBC iPlayer for the next 18 days.  Below you can find my short summary and review  of what the programme covers.

BBC iPlayer

Lachlan Goudie does a great job of following the life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh from his studies and first job, via
  • his serious design commissions in Glasgow 
    • for the Art School - in two stages. Near the beginning of the film there is video of the 2014 fire and then of Lachlan visiting the rebuilding of the part of was destroyed in the 2014 fire. It's very poignant to realise that everything you see in the film is now gone. However it includes images of the Library as it was and the studios and the various design features on and within the building

I'd never realised before that the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art
was built in two stages - this is a drawing after the first stage

Pics of Glasgow School of Art - now (pre June 2018) and then
    • other schools and churches, 
    • houses (e.g. Windy Hill and The Hill House) and 
    • tea rooms (eg Willow Tea Rooms) while working for the practice of John Honeyman & Keppie (from 1901 Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh) during the Mackintosh years 1889 to 1913
  • the unique interiors, murals and furniture he created for himself and others. I had not idea how far and wide these were. I was particularly intrigued by his influence on design and interiors on continental Europe
Lachlan Goudie in one of the recreations of a Mackintosh interior - complete with furniture
  • his withdrawal from Glasgow after a nervous breakdown - and an unsuccessful start of his own independent practice
  • his stay in Walberswick - and his drawing and paintings (with Margaret) of wild flowers - for a German Client (just before the first World War) - such a pity they didn't feature more of these in the programme. You can read more about this period in his life on my web page about 20th century botanical artists and the slim but beautiful volume by Pamela Robertson. See also my 2007 blog post Flowers in Art... and Charles Rennie Mackintosh which comments in detail on his practice when drawing and painting flowers
  • to living in the South of France in Collioure and Port-Vendres - you can see his wonderful watercolours of places he visited and painted in The CRM Trail and  Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Rousillon (one of the sign boards features in the BBC film). These are some of my favourite watercolours of all time. The compositions are amazing, while the draughtsmanship is masterful and the colour palettes are true to the place and yet well co-ordinated. However I learned from the programme that Mackintosh wasn't averse to moving some of the features in the landscape if they made for a better painting - and illustrated what had happened in the painting of the watercolour below. For more about these superb watercolours I recommend you read Charles Rennie Mackintosh in France: Landscape Watercolours by Pamela Robertson and Philip Long.

The Fort (1924) by CR Mackintosh
  • and finally to living in some poverty in London - where he continued to paint flowers -prior to his death
Part of one of Mackintosh's late paintings of flowers

For those interested in his drawings you can access all his sketchbooks as part of the Hunterian Collections at the University of Glasgow


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Previous blog posts about Charles Rennie Mackintosh

About the 2014 and 2018 Fires