Design for a library in a Glasgow house

MX.01 Design for a library in a Glasgow house

Address: Glasgow
Date: 1894
Client: Unknown
Authorship: Authorship category 1 (Mackintosh) (Mackintosh)

The only documentation for this scheme is an undated pencil and watercolour drawing showing elevations of four walls. The drawing shows a window, fireplace, fitted cabinets and wall decoration. It is not known whether the work was carried out. No client has not been identified –if this was an actual commission rather than a speculative or ideal design.

The fitted cabinets rise to picture-rail height and have decorative doors, with leaded glass in the lower section and what appear to be inlaid panels in the upper section. The tall, double-light window to the left has leaded glass. The fireplace has fire-dogs with stylised bird and leaf finials. The overmantel cabinet-fronts comprise symmetrical figurative panels. The frieze is decorated with a bold stylised pattern related to Mackintosh's symbolist watercolours of the mid 1890s.

On stylistic grounds, the design has been dated to 1894: the furniture is comparable to known designs carried out by Mackintosh for the Davidson family at Gladsmuir, Kilmacolm, and for J. & W. Guthrie around this time; the frieze and figurative decoration are similar to work by Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald and Frances Macdonald which appeared in the April and November 1894 editions of the Magazine, created by Glasgow School of Art students. 1

In 1896 Mackintosh exhibited a 'Design for a Library', possibly this drawing, at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts under his own name (357).

Authorship: The library design is known from Mackintosh's drawing.

Status: Unknown


1: Roger Billcliffe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh: The Complete Furniture, Furniture Drawings and Interior Designs, Moffat, Dumfriesshire: Cameron & Hollis, 4th edn, 2009, pp. 30–1; Michael Donnelly, 'Design for a library in a Glasgow House by Charles Rennie Mackintosh c1894–5', Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletter, 25, Spring 1980, pp. 6–8; the Magazine, [accessed 13 June 2013].