In 1900 Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret spent their honeymoon on Holy Island, also known as Lindisfarne, in Northumberland. They returned a year later with Herbert and Francis MacNair and Margaret's brother, Charles. During this stay Mackintosh filled the pages of his sketchbooks with a memorable series of flower drawings. These elegant studies present elements of single specimens, in isolation, set against a plain background, in a manner which evoked the scientific botanical tradition of the 18th Century.
Although Mackintosh had initially limited his plant studies to pencil line drawings, on this trip to the Holy Island he turned to colour. He used it tentatively at first, but in later drawings pure washes of watercolour become important, not simply in illustrating the flowers, but also as an integral part of the design and pattern of the pictures.
Dates, place names and initials were incorporated into cartouche boxes in many of these drawings. The 'M' and 'T' in the inscription of Purple Mallows stand for Margaret and Tosh, Mackintosh's family nickname. The appearance of both sets of initials on this drawing, and others of the series, does not indicate that they are collaborative works. Instead, he simply used his drawings as a family album, recording in their inscriptions those who were with him at the time when the drawing was made.
For a note on the artist see the note preceding lot 113.