This year would have been Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 150th birthday. The Glasgow-born architect, designer and artist was born on 7 June 1868, and went on to become a leading figure in both the 20th century Scottish arts and crafts movement and European Art Nouveau.
To mark the anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth, a year-long programme of events called Mackintosh 150 has been launched by listings site Glasgow Life, rail network Scotrail and the Glasgow Mackintosh organisation, with the aim of preserving the designer’s legacy and encouraging more young people and tourists to learn about his life and work.
The three organisations have been awarded £40,000 from the VisitScotland growth fund for the event series, which will see exhibitions, workshops, talks and more take place across Glasgow.
A new exhibition at the Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum is the initiative’s first opening. Called Making the Glasgow Style, the exhibition follows Mackintosh’s life chronologically from 1868 up until his death in 1928.
The exhibition showcases over 250 objects created by Mackintosh, including ceramics, furniture, textiles, posters, books, interior and tearoom designs, and architectural drawings. The objects have been drawn from Glasgow’s civic collections, as well as the V&A, Glasgow School of Art and a number of private lenders.
“Part of the fabric of Glasgow”
Highlights include a high backed chair from the Ingram Street Tearooms (1900), and a chair for the drawing and music room at Hous’hill, Nitshill (1904).
The programme will also see the reopening of the Mackintosh-designed Willow Team Rooms and the opening Oak Room at the upcoming V&A Dundee museum, along with a new Mackintosh interpretation centre at The Mackintosh House, a series of film screenings at The Lighthouse and exhibitions at Glasgow School of Art and other venues.
Mackintosh 150 is also part of a wider initiative in Glasgow to grow the city’s economy and increase tourism visits by one million by 2023. Councillor David McDonald, chair of Glasgow Life and deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, says: “Charles Rennie Mackintosh is part of the very fabric of Glasgow. As a city, we’re home to the world’s pre-eminent Mackintosh collection and while examples of his work can be found in museums across the globe, his significant built legacy, together with every aspect of his production – his furniture, fittings, drawings, letters and art – is almost exclusively held in the city.
“As such, his cultural legacy is one of our prime pillars for tourism growth and is central to our destination marketing in the UK and internationally.”
For more information and to see the full programme for Mackintosh 150, head here.