It’s been a mixed year for Charles Rennie Mackintosh with the 150th anniversary of his birth. Astonishingly, yes, he was born in the 19th century and died 90 years ago, yet his work still feels so modern and relevant for the 21st century. His masterpiece Hill House is shrouded in scaffolding while the National Trust for Scotland undertakes a major refurbishment and, up in Dundee, his Oak Room has been carefully restored as a major exhibit in the new V&A Dundee. That’s the good news; the bad is the loss of the Glasgow School of Art to fire, a second time, on which we await new of what went wrong and what will happen in the future. Whatever happens, the major spaces, including the unique library, must be restored.
In the south side of Glasgow, slightly overshadowed by a ski run, is a relatively new Mackintosh building, the House for an Art Lover, completed almost 70 years after his death, designed by Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald for the German interior design magazune ‘Zeitschrift fuer Innendekoration’. It was realised here in Glasgow in 1996 after many twists and turns and financial challenges that almost saw its demise. Today, it is a unique celebration of Mackintosh’s and MacDonald’s creative talent and a postgraduate outpost for the Glasgow School of Art, with walled garden, art studios and gallery and sculpture in the park, the gallery showing fascinating work by the Glasgow-based artist Jimmy Cosgrove.