Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Glasgow

Blog 18 Jun 2015

On the 7th of June 1868 Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow, one of Scotland’s most renowned and recognisable architects, designers and artists. It’s not difficult to notice that his influence still has an unparalleled effect on the landscape of the city of his birth. For those who take our tours from Glasgow, it really is worth familiarising yourself with the man and his portfolio, as there are many opportunities to explore his various pieces of work. 

The lighthouse, is pretty much the ideal place to start your journey which happens to be the first public commission that Mackintosh had to design a building in Glasgow. You will find here the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Interpretation Centre, which explores his life and work, and also the wonderful views of the cityscape at the top of the tower. 

Probably Mackintosh’s most well-known architectural work is the Glasgow School of Art, a wonderful example of his work which was built between 1897 and 1909. It would take around a 20 minute walk from our tour departure point at 266 George Street to arrive there. It really is a sight to behold and tours are frequently available to explore its inner workings… if you’re not a student there. 

It is unfortunate that the reason Mackintosh’s name appeared in the news in May 2014 was due to the fire that ravaged the school. Although the library was lost to the flames, firefighters were able to save most of the building and its contents to the great relief of the people of Glasgow, and fans of Mackintosh’s work worldwide. But it is this public reaction to what occurred that reveals what an impact his work still has on residents of the city, it led to tears and turmoil from locals on the street watching the events unfold at the time. 

Not far from the school is the Willow Tea Rooms located on Sauchiehall Street where you can enjoy tea and a scone (and a wealth of other delights) whilst admiring the original design of Mackintosh’s work. There is also a gift shop that sells several fabulous recreations of his pieces for those that want a little something to take home, you’ll know it when you see it. 

Close to Central Train Station, you can grab a peak at the Daily Record building (known as such because the newspapers office was once based there) where you can marvel at how the use of subtlety can make quite an impact. The Stereo bar and café is located here too which serve lovely vegan and vegetarian dishes.

No exploration of Mackintosh’s work would be complete without a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery which houses the Mackintosh and Glasgow Style Gallery, the largest collection of such items in the world. You’re spoiled for choice for artists though if you wish to persify your viewing the gallery has works from Dali, the Old Dutch Masters and French Impressionists amongst others.

I am missing out on so much though, far too much for the one day, as you can visit The Hill House, the House for an Art Lover, Queen’s Cross, and loads more! So before, or after taking a tour with us into the Highlands, make sure you take a tour of the art lover’s city of Glasgow.