Side chair, designed for the drawing room, Hous’Hill, Catherine Cranston’s residence, Nitshill, Glasgow

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  • Provenance

    Catherine Cranston, Hous’Hill, Nitshill, Glasgow
    Edward Arthur Gamble, Glasgow
    Sold amongst the contents of Hous’Hill, Nitshill, Glasgow, May 13, 1933
    Hugh Walker, Glasgow
    The Fine Art Society, London, before 1982

  • Exhibited

    Examples of the Hous'Hill chair, were shown in the following locations:
    The Fine Art Society, London, Spring 1996
    'Charles Rennie Mackintosh', Glasgow Museums,Travelling , 25 May 1996 – 12 October 1997
    'Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style', Travelling Exhibition in Japan, 15 September 2000 – 18 February 2001

  • Literature

    Studio Year Book, 1907, p. 58
    Robert Macleod, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Feltham, 1968, pl. 88
    Nikolaus Pevsner, ‘Charles Rennie Mackintosh’, Studies in Art, Architecture and Design, vol. 2, 1968, pls. 34-35
    McLaren Young, Catalogue of the Edinburgh Festival Mackintosh Exhibition, 1968, pl. 26
    Thomas Howarth, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement, London, 1977, pls. 46-47c
    Roger Billcliffe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, The Complete Furniture, Furniture Drawings and Interior Designs, New York, 1979, p. 170, no. 1904.62
    Roger Billcliffe, Mackintosh Furniture, Dumfriesshire, 1984, p. 145
    Charlotte Gere and Michael Whiteway, Nineteenth Century Design, From Pugin to Mackintosh, London, 1993, p. 279 pl. 351
    Victor Arwas, Art Nouveau. From Mackintosh to Liberty, the Birth of a Style, London, 2000, p. 35 for a similar example

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904 for the drawing room of Hous’Hill, the residence of Catherine Cranston, for whom he also designed the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow the previousyear. Within the drawing room sat a curvilinear screen which united the space’s component areas rather than separated them. Here, Mackintosh demonstrated his ingenuity as both designer and artist by sculpting furnishings expressly for the existing proportions of the rooms, so that they were both usable and beautiful objects: “One must evaluate Mackintosh’s furniture both as sculpture and as functional items for everyday use” (Roger Billcliffe, Mackintosh Furniture, Moffat, 1984, p.144). The resulting harmonious balance echoes Schopenhauer’s praise of music when he wrote: “the effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts” (The World as Will and Representation, vol.I, ch.II, 1918). Centered in the screen is the same semibreve that is reproduced in the center of the chair backs, and the linearity of the screen is further paralleled in the stretchers, a compositional concept that suggests that ”One should also acknowledge that his approach to spatial composition in these later works is primarily sculptural” (Billcliffe, 1984, ibid.).

    The development of Mackintosh’s interior and furniture design at Hous’Hill marks a progression away from the organic towards the rigidity and severity of geometric forms. “The drawing room points to a more considered and inventive manipulation of space. Mackintosh had always treated spaces in such a way as to express the function of a room” (Billcliffe, 1984, ibid.). Hous’Hill was occupied by Miss Cranston until about 1920. What remained of her furniture was sold at auction in Glasgow in 1933. The house no longer stands having sustained significant damage after fire. It was purchased by Glasgow Corporation only to be demolished. As all the fittings had been destroyed, all that remained to be sold at the 1933 auction was the furniture. Executed by Alex Martin, the present lot was part of a set comprising four low-back side chairs and one high-back armchair. The example being offered here is one of the three of this set that has been traced. The highback
    armchair is now in the Sydney and Frances Lewis Collection, at the Museum of Richmond, Virginia, and a low-back chair is in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. Both of these were sold by Sotheby’s in London in 1975 and 1995 respectively, while the remaining known low-back chair belongs to a private collection.

    Examples of the Hous’Hill chair, have been exhibited in the following locations: The Fine Art Society, London, Spring 1996; ‘Charles Rennie Mackintosh’, Glasgow Museums traveling exhibition, May 25, 1996–October 12, 1997; ‘Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style’, Mie Prefectural Art Museum, Tsu-shi, Japan, December 12, 2000–February 18, 2001.

14

PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Side chair, designed for the drawing room, Hous’Hill, Catherine Cranston’s residence, Nitshill, Glasgow

1904
Stained sycamore, lavender glass medallion, fabric.
30 x 17 x 21 1/4 in (76.2 x 43.3 x 54.1 cm)
Frame produced by Alex Martin and glass by McCulloch and Company, Scotland. From the production of four side chairs and one high-backed chair. The inside of frame and underside of seat both impressed with ‘X’.

Estimate
$180,000 - 220,000 

sold for $206,500

Design Masters

11 December 2012
New York