Thursday, 17 May 2012

feature : Mackintosh & Me

As a student entering my first year of a four year course at the Glasgow School of Art in the early 1960s, I was aware that the building had been designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, this gleaned from an old school friend who had already been studying there himself for eighteen months or so.

He encouraged me to apply for a place and to my joy I was accepted.

I had noticed previously that, in several of his Monthly Compositions, as they were known - that is to say, paintings set with a different theme each month which were subject to constructive criticism by the lecturers & students in the particular group or class in which the student found himself, the aforementioned friend had employed interesting architectural devices and motifs in several of these works.

I found these stylistic felicities most intriguing, despite the fact that they were being used largely as backdrops to the main subject. Subsequent enquiries on my part elicited from him the information that he had been influenced by the work of Mackintosh, the architect of The Art School.

As one of a hundred or so first year students, the beauty and wonder of our surroundings was imprinted & marvelled at on a daily basis, and reinforced by our lecturers at every opportunity; we were fortunate to be studying in such an architectural masterpiece.

During that four years of study, my fascination, and indeed, almost religious admiration for his work grew more profound, and has stayed with me all of my adult life.

In those, my student days, Mackintosh was largely unknown outside of Glasgow, except to a few devoted followers.

All this of course has changed in the intervening period, and he is now at last recognised for his undoubted genius, and must rank as one of the seminal architect / designers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

by Jim Rafferty, guest author

photo thanks to : Adrian Welch

photo thanks to : The Midgie

photo thanks to : Andrew Lee

photo thanks to : Adrian Welch

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