Charles Rennie Mackintosh interiors from Hill House go on display in Glasgow

The Hill House in Helensburgh was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for book publishers, the Blackie family
The Hill House in Helensburgh was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for book publishers, the Blackie family
0
Have your say

It has been an upsetting few months for the many fans of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his unique art nouveau style.

The Edwardian building at Glasgow School of Art, widely considered to be the architect’s masterpiece, was reduced to little more than its exterior walls following a devastating fire on the evening of June 15.

The White Bedroom is among the Mackintosh-designed interiors on display at The Lighthouse gallery

The White Bedroom is among the Mackintosh-designed interiors on display at The Lighthouse gallery

But aficionados of Mackintosh can now enjoy a chance to appreciate his design work in a new setting as another of his buildings undergoes a major refurbishment.

Interiors from the Hill House, an imposing private residence in Helensburgh now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), will go on display at The Lighthouse gallery in Glasgow from today until September 23.

It is the first time the custom-made fixtures and fittings have been removed from the property.

The Hill House was built in a commanding position overlooking the Firth of Clyde from 1901-1904 for the Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie.

He commissioned Mackintosh to oversee the design of the entire project, inside and out.

READ MORE: Glasgow School of Art not the city’s only architectural masterpiece under threat

Now a popular tourist attraction, NTS is currently fundraising to pay for a huge transparent cage to be built around the building and allow its sandstone walls to dry out.

Mackintosh’s choice of the then relatively new material Portland cement for the house’s render led to later problems as it has allowed water to soak in from the day it was first applied.

Decades of wind and rain have saturated the walls, threatening the long-term ­survival of the property in Helensburgh.

The trust has already secured £3 million towards the construction of the box.

“The Hill House is the most complete surviving example of Mackintosh’s whole house approach to design,” Emma Inglis, the NTS curator for Glasgow and the west of Scotland, said.

“He designed the architecture of the building, interior decoration and household furnishings to work in unison, creating rooms rich in interest and colour.

“Fundraising is still ongoing to save the Hill House and this exhibition is an opportunity to display objects which represent the heart and style of the Hill House. Visitors can quite literally view them in a different light.

“We feel very fortunate to have been able to bring the collection to the Lighthouse where it is in the heart of the city and so accessible to the people of Glasgow.

“It is important that the house and collection there are preserved as a record of Mackintosh and his work.”

Working with his wife Margaret Macdonald, Mackintosh designed the rooms and interior features of the Hill House, including the entrance hall, drawing room and main bedroom.

Items from these spaces are represented at the Lighthouse exhibition, including chairs, beds and tables.

David MacDonald, depute leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This fascinating exhibition offers visitors to the Lighthouse a first – the chance to see the interiors of his Helensburgh masterpiece in a new setting.”

Meanwhile, work is continuing to stabilise the walls of the Mackintosh building at the Glasgow School of Art.

An exclusion zone in Garnethill remains in place. Locals have been left frustrated as they cannot access their properties to retrieve possessions.

A £5m fund was recently announced to help businesses affected by the fire.