-Bellahouston Park
-House for an Art Lover

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


Charles Rennie Mackintosh

The House for an Art Lover was built in 1989-96 with the assistance of Glasgow City Council to a 1901 design of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His original drawings were his entry to an international competition held by the German magazine Zeitschrift fur Innendekoration for a grand `House for an Art Lover` (Haus eines Kunstfreundes) and the brief specified that it should be `in a thoroughly modern style`. Various parts of the submission were the work of his wife, Margaret Macdonald, and it is fascinating to see how her interior decorations are matched to the overall design of the house. The entry (submitted under the pseudonym Der Vögel (`The bird`) was disqualified as various views were not delivered in time, nor were the drawings complete, but on resubmission he received a special prize because his ideas were so startlingly original. The designs were published in 1902 and exhibited at the International Exposition in Turin where they further established Mackintosh`s reputation as one of the most innovative architects of the day.

The house is built on the foundations of Ibrox Hill House (demolished 1913) but since the drawings were never completed, nor were they intended as technical plans, much research work and inspired imagination has gone into the building`s final design and it must be viewed in that context. A few rooms of this outstanding building were constructed to the original designs but there was no attempt to construct the first-floor bedrooms or what must have been an enormous attic playroom.

This article is based on the guidebook "The Glasgow Guide".

The House for an Art Lover is an outstanding monument to the skills of Charles Rennie Mackintosh - and to those who have constructed it from his incomplete drawings.

The rooms described below are open to the public while the upper two storeys are used by the Glasgow School of Art. The house also has displays of the architectural and perspective drawings that Mackintosh submitted for the competition; these are works of art in themselves.

The house is very large indeed and is essentially rectangular in shape. The exterior is harled and painted white and the two long walls are decorated with a few Art Nouveau relief sculptures of female figures worked in sandstone. Other symbols include the tree of life. Overall, it has a gaunt and very austere appearance, enhanced by the addition of the drum tower at the entrance.

The main door leads into the grand double-height Main Hall. The main rooms are all off this open space and these are the panelled Dining Room, the startling Music Room and the Oval Room, originally designed as the Ladies Room.

Further details about the building can be found in "The Glasgow Guide".

List of Bellahouston Park articles:
Bellahouston Park

The Scotland Guide: links
All areas
Special subjects
Scotland Help
Glasgow Help

The Scotland Bookshop: links
The Scotland Bookshop homepage
Books about the whole of Scotland
Bookshop Help