Page 30

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

“The Japanese, in particular are are very interested in Mackintosh. There’s a lot of reproduction Mackintosh furniture made for the Japanese market and I’ve even heard tales of visitors coming into the house and lying down to kiss the ground.” However, unlike Robert Burns, who is estimated to be worth in excess of £160 million to the economy, the legacy of Mackintosh, who died in London of tongue cancer aged 60, is relatively untapped in comparison.

Glasgow School of Art

gained entry aged just 15 to Glasgow School of Art – a building he was later to redesign and which became one of his most celebrated works. Despite his architectural ability his achievements went largely unappreciated during his lifetime. As he grew increasingly bitter about the lack of recognition he turned to drink and, by the early 1920s, had abandoned architectural practice and moved to the south of France to indulge his passion for watercolour landscape painting. Rennie Mackintosh, once owned by the late New York television producer Donald L. Taffner and his wife Eleanor, were sold by Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull a couple of years ago they went for £1.3 million.

Although Mackintosh is as important to Glasgow as Gaudi is to Barcelona and Frank Lloyd Wright is to Chicago the potential for Mackintosh tourism is still to be fully realised. However, the true value of Mackintosh cannot be measured in solely financial terms as his contribution to the establishment of art nouveau is recognised across the world,. Born in 1868, the son of a policeman, Mackintosh was dyslexic but his creative talent was such that he

p30

Today, his paintings are worth a fortune. When the largest single private collection of furniture, drawings and paintings by Charles

John Mackie, director of the auction house, said: “It was a fantastic atmosphere in a packed sale room with many of the bidders flying in from the United States and Europe, some leaving their private jets at Edinburgh International Airport.”

Profile for Scotland Correspondent

Scotland Correspondent issue 5