The History of Charles Rennie Mackintosh Stained Glass

mackintosh stained glass

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was an architect, painter, and stained glass artisan from Glasgow, Scotland. He was born in 1868 as the fourth oldest of a large family that had 11 children total. At the young age of 15, Charles began attending evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. A year later, he became apprentice to a local architect by the name of John Hutchinson.

In 1889, Charles was able to qualify to join the prestigious architectural firm known as Honeyman & Keppie. It was during his employment there that he was introduced to and befriended Herbert McNair. In subsequent years, Charles was commissioned to work on various projects, including the Queen Margaret College Anatomical Department and the Martyrs Public School. He even traveled to Italy for a brief period of time on a scholarship tour. Then later, through his friendship with McNair, he became acquainted with the sisters Margaret and Frances Macdonald, whom he and McNair partnered with on several designs. Together, these group of designers became known as The Four.

charles rennie mackintosh stained glass

Margaret and Charles worked closely together. Gradually their friendship grew into something more and the two were married in 1900. Then, a year later, he became a partner at Honeyman & Keppie. Despite many years of success, Charles left the firm in 1913 when he and Margaret left the city to go to Suffolk.

Charles became most famously known for his ability to produce unique and beautiful art nouvea and art deco works. Beautiful floral patterns with bright pastel colors are characteristic of his designs. Perhaps one of his most famous works was the new building he designed for the Glasgow School of Art. This was not only his first commissioning, but as many would argue, his most important and greatest work.

The building features Scottish baronial architecture, braced windows with floral and geometric motifs, and a modern, industrial ambience. Charles’ wife, Margaret, collaborated with him on the interior design of the building, the results of which were detailed mantelpieces, ornate lighting fixtures, and fine carpets and furnishings. In 2014, much of the building was damaged in a fire, but now restorations are well underway.

You too can experience the legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh by bringing his art into your home. Scottish Stained Glass creates beautiful Mackintosh inspired windows that are perfect for your entryway, kitchen, bathroom, and more. Contact our office today to get a quote on your project or speak to a designer.

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