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Chair; high-back chair
Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Scottish, 1868-1928), probably made by Francis Smith and Son
Oak, stained dark, horsehair fabric cover
Centimetres: 46.2 (length), 136.8 (height), 50.5 (width), 46.2 (depth)
Designed c. 1898-1900, made c. 1898-1900
Glasgow School, Arts and Crafts Movement
Area of Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Area of Use: Glasgow; Strathclyde; UK; Scotland; Western Europe; British Isles; Europe
Samuel European Galleries
Gift of Prof. Thomas Howarth; Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestée par la Commission canadienne d'examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l'exportation et l'importation de biens culturels.
994.172.1
ROM2004_1029_8
 

Description: This chair is a variant of one that Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (AD 1868-1928) originally designed for the Lunch Room at Miss Cranston’s Argyle Street Tearooms, in Glasgow, about 1898. Mackintosh also used chairs of this type in the dining room of his own house at 120 Main Street, Glasgow.

When grouped around a dining table, these chairs, with their very high backs, would have conveyed a sense of intimacy and enclosure appropriate to dining; the oval back-rail at the top of the chair would have framed the sitter’s face. Its unusual form, made of subtly shaped structural members, alludes to that of a throne, giving the chair a ceremonial aspect that Mackintosh felt was also appropriate to the ritual of eating. The small circular recess on the oval back-rail may have held a small decorative painted panel.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was among the most original designers of the early twentieth century. Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and Japanese art, Mackintosh used ornament and colour sparingly to accent the strikingly geometric lines of his interior architecture and coordinating furniture. His published designs, along with his furniture, shown at several important European exhibitions, attracted wide international attention. Although he continued to design buildings and interiors, Mackintosh’s work after 1910 was largely devoted to textile design and watercolours.

References for this chair model and variants:
1. Billcliffe, Roger. 1968. Mackintosh Furniture. New York: E. P. Dutton, pp. 27, 29, 47-48, 50-51, 66.
2. Howarth. Thomas. 1952. Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement. London, Boston & Henley: Routledge and Kegan Paul, second edition 1977, pp. 50-51, plates 13a, 14a, 15a.
3. Wilk, Christopher editor. 1996. Western Furniture 1350 to the Present Day in the Victoria and Albert Museum. New York, London, Paris: Cross River Press, pp. 182-183.
4. Young, Andrew Mclaren. 1968. Charles Rennie Mackintosh 1868-1928: Architecture, Design, Painting: A Centenary Exhibition. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, p. 50, cat. 211.

Publications: Balkind, Alvin, "Chairs: a serious, comic, metaphysical, insane, feet-on-the-ground examination of the burning issues of chairness" (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1975): p. 31, ill;

Additional Reading: References for this chair model and variants:
1. Billcliffe, Roger. 1985. Mackintosh Furniture. New York: E. P. Dutton, pp. 27, 29, 47-48, 50-51, 66.
2. Howarth. Thomas. 1952. Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement. London, Boston & Henley: Routledge and Kegan Paul, second edition 1977, pp. 50-51, plates 13a, 14a, 15a.
3. Wilk, Christopher editor. 1996. Western Furniture 1350 to the Present Day in the Victoria and Albert Museum. New York, London, Paris: Cross River Press, pp. 182-183.
4. Young, Andrew Mclaren. 1968. Charles Rennie Mackintosh 1868-1928: Architecture, Design, Painting: A Centenary Exhibition. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, p. 50, cat. 211.

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