MACKINTOSH, Charles Rennie
(b. 1868, Glasgow, d. 1928, London)


Oak, stained varnish, straw and horsehair, 137 x 48 x 47 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

This model was created in 1897 for Catherine Cranston's Tea Rooms at 114 Argyle Street, Glasgow. It was realised by Francis Smith and Son, cabinetmakers and upholsterers in Glasgow.

This model - still a famous piece of furniture today - contributes to the overall design of the room with its high back. Although the chairs Mackintosh designed for the Argyle Street Tea Rooms are obviously in keeping with the tradition of the Arts and Crafts movement and bear the influence of Voysey, they also display all the characteristics of Mackintosh's individual style.

Grouped around dining tables, the elongated chairs created an intimate conversational space, and the dark oval headrests served to frame the broad fashionable hats of female tea drinkers. In 1900 the chair was one of several tearoom designs that Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald incorporated in their first home as a married couple and was also exhibited in their installation at the Vienna Secession. These contexts challenged the conventional separation of public and private and of masculine and feminine spheres of influence.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.