Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Floral and Checquered Fabric Design, circa 1916
pencil, bodycolour, on tracing paper
265 x 210mm.
Mary Newbery Sturrock
(5) Billcliffe, p.32-33 (Opera of the Sea and Hunterian Art Gallery design).
Toronto, 1978, no.119; Washington, 1985, no.39

Lot Essay

After his arrival in London in 1915 Mackintosh was forced to seek alternative forms of income as virtually all new building work had ceased after the outbreak of war. His response was a series of new watercolours of cut flowers which were showne at several exhibitions in London and the USA. He also submitted speculative designs for fabrics to a number of textile companies, principally Foxton's and Sefton's. For the next seven years, until he left London to live in France, these designs provided the major part of his income. The earliest of the designs have a basis in flowers and plants. Tobacco flowers were a favourite motif and the first of the designs may have been based on a sketch of wild tobacco flowers which Mackintosh had drawn in 1906 and which remained in his collection until his death (private collection). This design almost certainly dates from 1915 or 1916. It is a variant of a design in the Hunterian Art Gallery which was used by Mackintosh in a decorative painting executed by Margaret Macdonald, but perhaps designed by Mackintosh, entitled The Opera of the Sea (Hessisches-Landesmuseum, Darmstadt). The Hunterian design corresponds exactly to the garlands in the hair of the principal figure in the painting and it differs from this design only in the replacement of its checked ribbons by a black and white chequered pattern following the same contours.

More from Decorative Arts

View All
View All