Category: News & Events

Letters to Mackintosh Competition Winners

Four Winners have been selected for the ‘Letter to Mackintosh’ Creative Writing Project.

Rachel Wade (left) Overall Winner and Kirsten MacQuarrie (right), Winner of Top Entry from Adults (20+)

With over 40 international entries, a panel of volunteer Mackintosh experts and enthusiasts has the difficult task of judging the entries. ‘Letters to Mackintosh’ was a Creative Writing competition launched by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society during the Covid-19 lockdown to allow people an opportunity to write a letter to Mackintosh as if he was still alive today. The competition saw over 40 people from across the world between the ages of 8 and 84 submit an entry in celebration of 152nd anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth. It provided a chance for people to go back to using a traditional method of communication during a time where much of the focus was on reconnecting digitally and the chance to win some Mackintosh goodies.

The full list of winners are as follows:

Top Overall Entry
Rachel Wade from York, with ‘The Red Kite

“A particularly poignant letter which rings true to the era and captures the  working relationship between Charles and Margaret beautifully. Thought provoking in that we consider what would have been unveiled had Margaret’s letters survived.”

Best Entry from Adults (aged 20+)
Kirsten MacQuarrie from Glasgow with ‘Dear Tosh’

“A great written perception of the beauty and inspiration found in Glasgow streets creating hope during a difficult time for the world.”

Best Entry from Teens (aged 12 – 20)
Isabel Burns from Kent (aged 17) with ‘Dear Mr Mackintosh

“Eloquently written and perfectly encapsulates how Mackintosh is now perceived in this day and age.”

Best Entry from under 12’s
Leo Weekes from Hampshire (aged 8) with ‘Letter to Mr Mackintosh and Mackintosh Rose Drawing’

“Thoughtfully asks all the right questions from one budding designer to another. We particularly liked the accompanying rose drawing.”

The full list of the top 10 shortlisted entries are as follows:

Julio Vives Chillida from Barcelona with ‘Imaginary Letter From Gustav Klimt to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’
Tommy Clarke from Glasgow with  ‘The Visit from the Rose Lady’
Clinton R. Siegle from Bolivia with ‘Letter to Mackintosh’
Sylvia Telfer from South Lanarkshire with Letter/Poem to Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Sarah Mills from Wiltshire with ‘CRM Letter and The Pond Design’
Kay Ritchie from Glasgow with ‘Letter from the Hill House’
Kathleen Smith from Stornoway with ‘To An Artist with Illustration’
Charlotte Mitchell from Paris with ‘Letter from Rosa’
Rumaanah Yasin from Wolverhampton with ‘Letter to Mackintosh and Drawing’
Issaac Hayden from Angus with  ‘Dear Mr Mackie from Beckie’

The CRM Society is grateful to Mackintosh at the Willow and House for an Art Lover for their generous contributions to prizes. 

Happy Birthday Mackintosh! Celebrating 152 Years with a reflection on Sintra

On Sunday the 7th of June 2020 we celebrate the 152nd anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth!

The CRM Society would normally be hosting physical events in celebration, and though this is not possible this year, we would like to take the opportunity to remember his legacy. We reflect on a piece from the Journal archives from 2008 written by Marisa Herrero Membrado, an art historian and CRM Society member.

112 years ago, in May of 1908, Mackintosh would have arrived in Sintra in Portugal. In all of the literature on Mackintosh, very little has been written about a journey he made to Portugal with Margaret. They would have arrived in Sintra when Mackintosh was 40 years of age, and Margaret 44.

We know that 1908 was not an easy year for Mackintosh so was this perhaps a special birthday getaway? We do not know, but we do know that the only professional commissions were the extension to the Glasgow School of Art with the Library Wing and the entrance to the Lady Artist’s Club in Blythswood Square. His father had died on the 10th of February, and a few months later the Mackintosh’s set off for Sintra. There is no information about whether they visited other places in Portugal and we do not know the exact reasons why Mackintosh chose to spend his time in this small town, 24 kilometres from Lisbon.

All that remains from his trip are few sketches and drawings, a botanical watercolour painting (Tacsonia) signed with the couple’s joint initials CRM/MMM in June, and two postcards sent on the 22nd of May, one of them to Fra H Newberry (Janelas do Real Palacio de Cintra) and the other to Miss May Newbery (Atrio do Convento dos Capuchos) 4 in which he stated his intention to draw the tree appearing on the front of the card.

While the Mackintoshes were in Sintra, the Italian architect and stage designer Luigi Manini was building the Quinta da Regaleira (1904-1910), another of the major buildings in this Portuguese town. It is not known whether Mackintosh was in contact with Manini, or if he visited to study this particular architect’s work.

A year after Mackintosh’s visit to Sintra, in 1909, Mackintosh’s architectural career/reputation began to go into decline. His fame as an Art Nouveau artist had dwindled as contemporary European architecture developed along more classical lines and as public taste changed. Mackintosh was no longer receiving commissions. At a certain point in his life, for very complex reasons, he cut himself off from the artistic circles in which the European art of the moment was opening up new directions. In 1913 Mackintosh had left the firm Honeyman & Keppie and moved to England. His last major commission, for W. J. Bassett-Lowke, was to renovate the early 19th-century terraced house at 78 Derngate (1916–1919) in Northampton.

Today, Sintra has become recognised as a primary site of Iberian Romantic architecture in Europe. In 1995 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural and architectural legacy, with over two hundred types of trees, two thousand different plant species and its exuberant Romantic-style buildings.

It is unclear whether this trip marked a turning point for Mackintosh but we imagine that he and Margaret would have enjoyed the naturalist architecture, and it’s cosmopolitan yet ‘Magical and Fairytale’ like atmosphere and an opportunity to sketch their surroundings. It was not long after they returned and were living is Walberswick, Suffolk that Mackintosh created a series of botanical watercolour paintings. Could his trip to Sintra have reignited his love of botanical painting?

We hope you enjoyed this insight into Mackintosh’s past and will join us in celebrating the 152nd anniversary. If you would like to read the full text, you can access it here: A View of Sintra

‘Letters to Mackintosh’ Creative Writing Project

‘Letters to Mackintosh’ is a creative writing project open to people of all ages. We invite Mackintosh fans to submit a piece of writing no longer than 1000 words, addressed to Charles Rennie Mackintosh as if he was still alive today in celebration of the 152nd anniversary of his birth on the 7th of June 2020. Perhaps you’ll tell him what your favourite piece of his work is? Or maybe you want to ask him some questions about his ideas or travels? You could even write him a poem, include some of your own illustrations or describe what he might have been up to on a typical day back in 1900. The possibilities are endless – but we’ve outlined some creative writing prompts in our Letters to Mackintosh Entry Guidelines to refer to if you wish to do so.

This project is inspired by the ‘Chronycle’ which is a published series of letters Mackintosh wrote to his wife Margaret when they were separated for a period of time to take care of business affairs. In his letters, Mackintosh tells Margaret all about his day to day activities, describing his likes and dislikes about where he is staying in Port Vendres, reflecting on their careers and relationship and keeping their connection alive. It isn’t the standard of writing but the wit, emotion and details of everyday life in the writing which captures the hearts of those who read them.

During the current international Covid-19 pandemic we have all been trying to stay connected with loved ones, mostly online or over the phone, but letter writing has also made somewhat of a comeback! The lockdown has also given us time for reflection, research and re-discovering the things we enjoy doing in our spare time, and made us think about where we might want to visit once restrictions have been lifted. The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society would normally be hosting a series of events in celebration of the Mackintosh Anniversary, and although this sadly won’t be possible this year we would like to strongly encourage people to keep engaging with the Mackintosh Legacy and share their love for his work. ‘Letters to Mackintosh’ is a celebration of what Mackintosh means to us and an opportunity for you to get creative in your own right and ‘reconnect’ with him as an Artist, Designer and Architect.

Judging Categories and Prizes:

Best Entry from under 12’s:

  • Amazing Mr Mackintosh Book
  • Design Detectives Activity Sheets
  • Mackintosh Colouring Book with colouring pens/pencils

Best Entry from Teens (age 13 – 20)

  • A Selection of Mackintosh Stationery
  • Mackintosh Book
  • Starter Watercolour Painting Set

Best Entry from Adults (age 20+)

  • £20 Gift Voucher for the shop at Mackintosh Queen’s Cross with FREE admission for up to 4 people
  • Complimentary ‘Mackintosh Discovered Walking Tour’ for 4 people
  • Complimentary Admission to House for an Art lover for 4 people

(all admission to Mackintosh buildings will occur when each location re-opens and it is deemed safe to honour the relevant prizes)

Overall Top Entry:

  • 1 year of membership to the CRM Society which includes a bumper edition 2020 Journal.
  • Afternoon Tea and Free Entry to the Exhibition experience at Mackintosh at the Willow.
  • A complimentary pair of annual “Friend of the House Cards” valid at House for an Art Lover (Friend of the House Cards – valid for 1 year from when the House re-opens and it is deemed safe to honour them.) You’ll get:
  • Free entry to House for an Art Lover’s Visitor Attraction during opening hours
  • 10% discount apples in the Art Lovers’ Café, Shop and for Art Classes  (Café discount applies to total bill for up to 4 guests)
  • 10% discount on in-house event tickets. (Card Holder Only)

Judging Date: 9th July 2020

Winners Announced:  Monday 13th July 2020

Top entries will be published on both the and websites and all viable entries will be documented on our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Eggs on Legs Show with Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre

Eggs on Legs Puppet Show! Meet a family of zany eggs on legs in a show full of wonder, surprises and laughter at Mackintosh Queen’s Cross.

Eggs on Legs is hosted by Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre and Garlic Theatre and the show will take place at Mackintosh Queen’s Cross on Friday the 27th of March from 5pm – 6.30pm. Tickets cost £1 for individuals and £3 for families. Available on Eventbrite or physically from the shop at Mackintosh Queen’s Cross.

‘Every day, from here to there funny things are everywhere’ Dr Seuss

Meet a family of zany Eggs on Legs, living in a lost pocket of the globe. One day the wind blows a huge egg into their tree and they are excited to play with it. But what happens if it hatches and can they protect it from the slithery snake?

Garlic Theatre conjure a poetic, Dr Seuss world full of eggcentric puppets and music to make you roll around with laughter. A cracking family show bursting with wonder and surprise – you will never look at an egg in the same way again

Mark Pitman is the wonderful physical performer who takes us on a journey to a land of sand and wind where a family of funny and inspiring puppets, Eggs on Legs live in a rusty old bunker.

The show opens when the wind blows a hole in the roof of the shed. Pepe and Lela fly away in their eggplane to leave the 2 children and the eggdog alone at home. The adventure unfolds when a mysterious egg arrives in a gust of wind and Chico tries to play with it. As it hatches out Chico learns to care for it and encounters many surprises along the way.

The show is a warmhearted, poetic story with nurturing at its heart with beautifully crafted and manipulated puppets and gentle clowning.

This project is supported through Glasgow Connected Arts Network Commissioned Projects.

Tours of Mackintosh Queen’s Cross

Discover the history of Mackintosh Queen’s Cross on a new volunteer-led tour of the building and uncover the Mackintosh story!

Launching on Monday the 23rd of March, tours will run most Mondays and additional dates will be announced.

During this 30 – 45 minute tour, you will be guided around the building to view Mackintosh’s subtle yet unmistakable designs, from beautiful wood and stone carvings to stained glass and his clever play on light and dark.

You’ll also learn about the building’s hidden histories and where it fits within Mackintosh’s career, introducing you to his progression as an architect, designer and artist. Many aspects of Mackintosh Queen’s Cross relate to elements in his other architectural works and subtly hint towards his later designs such as the Glasgow School of Art.

Please get in touch if you would like to find about about accessibility, languages or if there is anything we could do to make your visit more comfortable.

Tickets are £5 and include entry fee – BOOK HERE

Visitors are welcome to access the building before and after the tour. Proceeds (minus Eventbrite booking fee) go directly to supporting the work of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society.

Glasgow Love Stories

Saturday 15th February, 4pm, Mackintosh Queen’s Cross Church, Maryhill G20 7EL

A Valentines performance from The Avenues Singers. Including music by Tallis, Ravel, Billy Joel and CHVRCHES.

£8 adults / £5 concessions / £20 family ticket up to three children / under 5s free. You can buy tickets from choir members or purchase on the door. Collection for British Heart Foundation on the day  

‘Looking at Mackintosh’s Masterpiece’, a photography Exhibition by Sylvia Richardson

Sylvia’s exhibition has now closed.

Photographer Sylvia Richardson brings a unique exhibition of previously unseen images of Mackintosh’s Masterpiece, The Glasgow School of Art building. Her images encapsulate an intimate view of the building’s internal spaces and lead us on an ambling journey from the observer’s perspective. Corridors full of light and patterned shadows, reflections of beautiful sculptures, wood carvings and windows; Sylvia captures subtleties as part of her own artistic discovery of Mackintosh. A celebration of the unseen, this exhibition is particularly poignant following the sad destruction of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building following two fires in 2014 and 2018. We hope that you will join us in reflecting back on this architectural masterpiece.

Sylvia Richardson was born in 1966. Her grandfather and great uncle were keen amateur photographers. She recalls enjoying her mothers tape slides as a young child, sharing her times in Linlithgow and being encouraged to pick up her own camera to document her life through the lens from a young age. Her early interest in creative subjects at school was extended during training at North Glasgow College, where she studies film, monochrome, darkroom development and digital photography, before going on to complete her HNC/HND at Reid Kerr college in 2012. Sylvia discovered a passion for architectural forms and The Glasgow School of Art Building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh was an exquisite piece of architecture which captured her imagination. With this iconic building Sylvia felt her creativity inspired like a child in a sweetie shop, and is pleased to harness and share this experience in this exhibition, ‘Looking at Mackintosh’s Masterpiece,’ at Mackintosh Queen’s Cross.

‘Inspired by the Glasgow Girls’ Exhibition

Exhibition Preview: Friday 15th of November 6pm – 9pm

Exhibition Runs from Monday 18th of November until Friday the 13th of December

Opening Hours: 11am – 4pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday unless by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in which case call 0141 946 6600 to arrange.

Five female artists from Glasgow present work which embodies both a celebratory nod to the past as well as an exploratory continuation of the intriguing themes and methods present in the work of the original esteemed Glasgow Girls. 

‘The Glasgow Girls’ has become an iconic phrase both here and internationally when referring to artworks created in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s by a prominent group of female Glaswegian artists. This includes names such as Jessie M King, Bessie MacNicol, Helen Paxton Brown, Annie French, Frances Macdonald and of course Margaret Macdonald who became the wife and lifelong creative partner of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

All were inspired by different themes which included  nature, identity, fertility, sexuality, romantic mysticism, celtic symbolism, religious iconography and mythology. They also often incorporated the female figure within their compositions and drew upon ideas from poetry, resulting in almost fairy tale or dream like images which visually responded to written prose. This, along with their use of colour, materials and subject pulls from the subconscious with tangible emotion. Their unique style still influences artists and enthusiasts of today as we continue to research and unravel the thought processes behind the works of this incredible movement.

This group exhibition showcases the work of five contemporary female artists, currently living and working in Glasgow. This includes Sharon Ferris, Hannah Lyth, Choirstaidh McArthur, Rechel Petrie and Jade Sturrock.

Responding to and reinventing some of the prominent themes in the work of the Glasgow Girls, this group of artists have been selected due to parallels in each of their works. Whether this is a response to the human condition (female subjectivity, sexuality, fertility and liberation), our connection with nature and the organic, religious and symbolic iconography, or drawing from written pieces such as poetry and prose, the group are as diverse and multifaceted in their use of concept and material as the original Glasgow Girls.

Primary by Jephson Robb

Exhibition at Queen’s Cross: 3 October to 9 November 2019

To mark the 120th anniversary of the opening of Mackintosh Queen’s Cross we are delighted to have this major exhibition by Jephson Robb.

Jephson Robb presents his first public exhibition of new work entitled – Primary – a series of sculptures influenced by the building and its architect.

Throughout October we will be open Monday to Saturday.

To reserve your place, please register below on Eventbrite and we look forward to seeing you on the 5 November.

For further information contact Ewan Mill Keith

The exhibition has been extended and will now run until 9 November 2019 

Mackintosh Life Drawing

Mackintosh Queen’s Cross: Last Sunday of the Month in July, August and September 2019

Sunday 28th July 1pm – 3.30pm, Sunday 25th August 1pm – 3.30pm & Sunday 29th September 12pm – 2.30pm

Why not try your hand at some figurative life drawing in a stunning Mackintosh venue? In a space flooded with natural light, we will draw from a series of short and long poses with a live life model. The sessions are lead by local artist Jade Sturrock, a graduate from the Glasgow School of Art who specialises in Painting and Printmaking and the sessions are mostly self-guided although tutorial advice will be available to those who want it.

Basic materials and tea and coffee are provided, as well as easels, drawing boards and seating is available if required. You are also welcome to bring along your own materials (excluding any hazardous materials such as oil paints or solvents).

All levels are welcome to join, and sessions are limited to 12 people max so pre-booking is highly recommended. Tickets are £12 when purchased in advance or £15 on the door (subject to availability)

Tickets can be purchased here.