Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

A mahogany wash stand, 1903-4
designed for Walter Blackie Esq., for the Dressing Room, Hill House, Helensburgh
the superstructure with overhung top, above leaded mirror-glass tiled panel with decoration of a purple and mauve tiled stylized tree and with a border of white and mirror glass tiles, the base with rectangular top and fitted interior
122cm. wide; 138cm. high; 56.2cm. deep
Mrs Walter Blackie
(4) Billcliffe; Toronto , 1978, p.30, illustrated; Washington, 1985, illustrated
Toronto, 1967, no.81; Toronto, 1978, no.104, Washington, 1985, no.41

Lot Essay

Made by John Craig in 1904 but designed in 1903 along with a wardrobe and a chest-of-drawers, all to match an existing mahogany chest-of-drawers (not designed by Mackintosh) which Walter Blackie owned. The body of the washstand is very simple and restrained, as are the other items Mackintosh designed for the Dressing Room, but the impressive leaded splashback in coloured glass and pewter is one of his most accomplished decoraive compositions. Its impact, when seen alongside the other less exciting furniture, possibly betrays his annoyance at being forced to accommodate an older and somewhat prosaic piece of furniture (the chest-of-drawers) when Blackie was reducing the number of pieces commissioned from Mackintosh for other rooms at The Hill House. The decoration takes the form of a stylised tree but despite its organic origins the image is achieved solely through the use of squares and rectangles of glass and pewter.

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