Granddaughter returns desk to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's The Hill House

Ruth Currie, the granddaughter of Walter Blackie, with the desk which is now back in the library at The Hill House, which was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the publisher. PIC: NTS
Ruth Currie, the granddaughter of Walter Blackie, with the desk which is now back in the library at The Hill House, which was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the publisher. PIC: NTS
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A desk which once sat at the heart of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's domestic masterpiece The Hill House has returned to the property for the first time in over 60 years.

When the house was completed in 1904, owner Walter Blackie placed his desk in the library of his stunning new home.

It remained at the publisher's home until his death in 1953, when it was moved to the home of his daughter, who also lived in Helensburgh. Later it was passed to Mr Blackie's granddaughter, Ruth Curre, in the 1970s.

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Ruth Currie has now donated the desk to the National Trust for Scotland, which now owns The Hill House.

Ms Currie said:“I have happy memories of running up and down the the grid lines on the hall carpet and being shown books in the library where papers were piled high on the desk.

“I’m very pleased to see my grandfather’s desk back in The Hill House library.”

READ MORE: How Charles Rennie Mackintosh shaped Glasgow

The desk then passed to Walter’s granddaughter Ruth Currie in the 1970s. She offered to donate the desk to the National Trust for Scotland while the conservation charity was researching the Blackie family.

The Hill House is a globally-significant example of Charles Rennie Mackintosh design vision but, at the time, it was was also a happy and bustling family home.

The home’s ornamental interior features many original pieces, from the embroidered hangings in the bedroom to the ‘Sleeping Princess’ panel above the fireplace in the boardroom and a set of Mackintosh's instantly recognisable ladderback chairs.

While Mackintosh didn’t design the desk, it shows how pieces could fit within the house that was a home to Blackie, his wife Anna and their five children.

Emma Sweeney, visitor services supervisor at The Hill House, added: “It’s important for us to remember that the purpose of The Hill House was first and foremost to be a family home.

"We’re very grateful to Ruth for donating her grandfather’s desk to us, as having original items of furniture really helps us to tell the story of the Blackie family and maintain the aesthetics of the home as it stood in the 1900s.”

The National Trust for Scotland is taking a bold approach to conserving the house for future generations by creating 'The Hill House Box'.

This is effectively a giant, mesh shield covering the property to help manage the problem of water damage at the property. Mackintosh used a number of new materials to build the house, with the property effectively soaking up water for more than 100 years as a result.