Glasgow day 3

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Hill House, Helensburgh, built by Mackintosh 1902-04 for publisher Walter Blackie

IMG_1212Hill House had only two private owners (both Mackintosh fans) before it passed into the embalmer’s hands, so it’s as authentic as you can get. It’s positioned on a hill overlooking the River Clyde and is the kind of harmonious, balanced Gesamtkunstwerk that Mackintosh insisted on. What I particularly noted were the way that room shapes and furniture encouraged sub-division: here is the nook by the fire for winter days, here is the large bay for fine days, and here is a little alcove on the landing for the children to play. Again, there was the interplay between light and dark, and small pieces of coloured glass set into doors, lights and frames. Another “barred” staircase (like Derngate). Lines (or germinating plant shoots) springing up and bisecting glass squares. The window stays in the outside which resembled swans (symbol of undying union):

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It was also very clear that Mackintosh’s designs must have cost a fortune to his patrons!

The return to Glasgow took in a view of Loch Lomond:

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Then a visit to Scotland Street School (1903-06) in the south of the city. The neighbourhood it once served has long been demolished and it’s a rather forlorn sight now. Mackintosh was on a tight budget here: the Glasgow School Board reined him in as far as they could, but Mackintosh still smuggled in his geometric patterns and symbols.

The day ended with a visit to the church in Queen’s Cross designed by Mackintosh in 1897-99. Even in this building, Mackintosh incorporated his stylised plant-like designs.

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