On the Trail of Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow


Scotland Street School

Karen Bryan, editor of the Europe a la Carte Blog, gives some tips on how to follow the trail of Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow.

One of the best known Glaswegians is the architect and painter, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who was an influential advocate  of the Art Nouveau style in the UK.   There are several Rennie Mackintosh buildings ad related activities in Glasgow.

The Glasgow School of Art is probably Mackintosh’s most famous building.  However the building is only accessible on guided tours which cost £8.75 per adult.  If  download the voucher from the Glasgow’s Leading Attractions site, you can claim a 20% discount on the adult tour ticket.

Mackintosh’s Lighthouse building , originally designed as the offices of the Glasgow Herald newspaper, took on a new role as Scotland’s National Centre for Architecture and Design in 1999.  However the trust running the Lighthouse went into administration in August 2009 and it’s future is uncertain.

Mackintosh entered the “House for an Art Lover” competition run by a German magazine in 1901, only to be disqualified for late submission of the plans.  He worked on this project with his new wife,  Margaret MacDonald, whom he met at the Glasgow School of Art, credited as a major influence on his work. In the late 1980s these plans were translated into reality with the construction of the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow..  You can download a Glasgow’s Leading Attractions voucher giving  a 15% discount on purchases made at the Art Lover’s shop  only to be used  in conjunction with a valid entry ticket.

Although located 20 miles west of  Glasgow, in the town of  Helensburgh, the Hill House, commissioned by a wealthy publisher as a family home, is a wonderful example of Mackintosh’s Art Nouveau style.  The property is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. I’ve visited a couple of times and loved it.

Even if you’re not a massive Rennie Mackintosh fan, you should visit the Willow Tearooms in either Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street,to enjoy Afternoon Tea or some Scottish specials such as Arbroath Smokie with cloutie dumpling or some haggis, tatties and neeps.

My suggestions for a free half day in Glasgow with a taste of Rennie  Mackintosh would be to see a couple of recreations of Mackintosh style rooms at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and visit the Scotland Street School Museum, designed by Mackintosh in 1906 (closed on Mondays). That way you can combine seeing some Mackintosh style interiors and an exterior with other exhibits at the Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum along with getting an insight into the Scottish education system from the early 1900s.  Both venues have cafes.

The Mackintosh Trail Ticket includes entry to all fee paying Mackintosh attractions and all day transport (after 9.30am) on the Underground and First Greater Glasgow buses. On the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society site you can download three self guided Mackintosh walks and also find a very useful itinerary planner where you select between 2 – 5 Mackintosh attractions.




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