To mark the launch of our Northampton store, we are celebrating one of the most prominent creative minds in furniture history, the great British designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Famous for his unique architectural style and his chair designs, Mackintosh is one of the most influential and famous designers of the early 20th century. He championed the Art Nouveau style of architecture and interior design in Britain, so much so that it is sometimes called “Glasgow Style”, in reference to Mackintosh’s hometown. Reaffirming this relationship, Glasgow is hosting the annual Macintosh Festival for the whole of October, across various locations in the city - www.glasgowmackintosh.com/festival
Mackintosh was a close friend of his patron, the enigmatic Northampton entrepreneur W.J. Bassett-Lowke. In 1916, Bassett-Lowke commissioned Mackintosh to design the interior and furniture for a Northampton house called, 78 Derngate. Today, 78 Derngate is the only example of a Mackintosh interior outside of Scotland, and is a renowned attraction for tourists and scholars alike.
To pay homage to Mackintosh’s legacy in Northampton, we teamed-up with experts from The 78 Derngate Trust, as well as the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow – home to the world’s largest collection of Mackintosh works – to publish an online gallery of the great designer’s unfinished ideas for 78 Derngate. These are original, hand-drawn sketches by Mackintosh, discovered in the archives of the Hunterian Museum in Scotland.
Each piece of concept-art offers a window into both the precision and critical rigour behind Mackintosh’s genius. The sketches are displayed side-by-side with the actual realisations of his ideas at 78 Derngate, providing fascinating insight into the Mackintosh creative ideas that were never actually executed.
To learn more about Mackintosh, visit the homepage of The 78 Derngate Trust at www.78derngate.org.uk.
Or, even better, make a trip to the house itself at 78 Derngate, Northampton NN1 1UH
Visit the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow’s homepage at www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian
The Northampton Furniture Village store is located in the Riverside Retail Park, Fairground Way, Northampton NN3 9HU.
For more information, go to www.furniturevillage.co.uk
All original Mackintosh sketches are reproduced courtesy of the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. All photos are reproduced courtesy of The 78 Derngate Trust.
The door at 78 Derngate is one of its most famous features. Mackintosh drafted proposed designs for the door across several years. This is a sketch in pencil and watercolour featuring two oval panels in the door, a design that was ultimately rejected. It was painted by Mackintosh at some point between 1916 and 1917.
Instead of this earlier design, a different central light and three square panels were chosen for the finished door. This can be seen in the design below, and in the accompanying photos – including the charming shot of a happy Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Bassett-Lowke in their new home.
The below is an unmistakably-Mackintosh clock design, which he proposed to Bassett-Lowke for 78 Derngate. Ultimately, a different clock was created for the house instead, though we shall never know why this distinctive design was never made. The sketch shows Mackintosh’s thought-process as he considered details such as how to present the numbers on the clock’s face.
The clock would have stood on the dining room mantelpiece, as shown in the immaculately-detailed first design for the fireplace wall, below left. When compared with the finished fireplace wall, below, we are offered a window into the time and effort that would have accompanied even small changes to designs.
Below, we see two further sets of designs, planned to the tiniest detail, which were never created. Mackintosh drafted these ideas for furniture, probably for the dining room of Derngate, for Bassett-Lowke in 1918.
Pencil and watercolour sketch below, complete with paint blobs, shows Mackintosh’s idea for a gesso panel above the fireplace in the iconic hallway of Derngate. This, fascinatingly, was perhaps inspired by a similar decorative panel his wife, Margaret McDonald, had designed for another commission. While the gesso panel was rejected, the coat-cupboard (on the right-side of the sketch) was later adapted to also incorporate a clock in the centre.