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MacDonald-Mackintosh Inspired Designs


Who is this handsome couple?! You may not recognise their images, but you will undoubtedly have seen their influence in the world around you.

The photo on the left shows Charles Rennie Mackintosh, born in 1868, he started his training at Glasgow School of Art at the tender age of 15, going on to become a hugely accomplished and influential architect, artist and designer.

The photo on the right shows Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, born in Wolverhampton, in 1865, she began her studies at Glasgow school of art in 1890. Like many of the Arts and Crafts pioneers she produced art in a variety of mediums: metalwork, textiles, painting.

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(Stained glass window from The Hill House, Glasgow by Charles Rennie Mackintosh)

The couple worked together on many projects but due to poor documentation it is not now clear how much of their output was attributable to each individual. Mackintosh is said to have stated that Margaret 'had genius whereas he had only talent', and said to Margaret "You must remember that in all my architectural efforts you have been half if not three-quarters of them."

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(The White Rose and The Red Rose by Margaret MacDonald MAckintosh)

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's creations often featured graphically styled origami-like roses; black gridded frameworks; tall, elegant forms and a light touch of the decorative style of Art Nouveau, along with the beginnings of a cleaner Modernist style; as can be seen here in his design for the reception and music room within the 'House for an Art Lover'


Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh's work was also ornate and romantic in style, beautifully encompassing all of what we have come to think of as Art Nouveau. There are the same stylised roses and a strong sense of symmetry as can be seen in The May Queen, below:

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The couple's influence on the world of Art and Design has been so great that they are still inspiring artist and designers to this day. An abundance of MacDonald/Mackintosh inspired jewellery, furniture and housewares can be found in high street stores and online, and with good reason: the style is instantly appealing and charming. Although too apparantly feminine and romantic for some, for many it satisfies a desire for ornament, decoration and beauty which can be all too often lacking in modern life. The style represents an age wherein craft and art were seen as equally important, when beauty was as important as function.

Our latest fabric line, Utopia, features a design called Arcadia which wears the Mackintoshes' influence boldy on it's sleeve. The stylised roses and graphic framework are both elegant and refined. Perfect symmetry and tall, slender forms create an air of sophistication while somehow retaining a hand-crafted appearance.

 Arcadia BlackCr d.jpg  Arcadia BrBeigedjpg.jpg  Arcadia Nat.jpg   Arcadia Wine detail_.jpg

Arc Soft Gr.jpg Arcadia Duckegg djpg.jpg Arcadia Fuschsia d.jpg Arcadia Lime d.jpg

(click on the images to view the fabrics online)

We also carry an enduringly appealing design called Rennie. The fact that this design has been running for over 10 years is testament to the timeless charm of the Mackintoshes' style. Rennie features the trademark Rose; beautiful, swirling Art Nouveau style stems and foliage; and a subtle decorative grid pattern. Available in four colourays, the Gold/Wine colourway is shown below (click on the image to view on the site)

 rennie gold.jpg 

Rimini is another Art Nouveau inspired fabric, although the designer hasn't been quite so literal with the interpretation of the theme. This design is slightly more ornate and elaborate than the Mackintoshes' work but the influence can still be seen in the MacDoanld-Mackintosh style flower and the symmetrical forms.

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The couple's style can also be seen in the design Renne. Once again, we have the tall, long stemmed roses, with the detailing kept to a minmum creating the familar Mackintosh- MacDonald style bloom. 

Renne AntiqueD.jpgRenne Claret d.jpgRenne Gold d.jpgRenne Black d.jpgRenne Onyx d.jpg

Further examples of MacDonald-Mackintosh inspired curtains can also be found within our ready-made curtain department. Montrose is a very similar design to Rennie, once again, we can see the stylised blooms, the swirling foliage and the symmetry so reminiscent of the couple's work.



If you're interested in finding out more about Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, including where you can see their work, here are links to some good sources of information:

The Design Museum website, THe Hunterian Gallery's Collection of Margaret MacDaonld's work, The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, a short but fascinating piece from BBC Scotland exmining Margaret's work and contribution to Charles's success and Great Designers Blog.

(1) Comment | leave a comment

  • Fran Griffiths | 19 Dec 15


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