For more than half a century, it has lain out of sight in a Glasgow storage facility, but plans to restore one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpieces have received a welcome boost.
A project to conserve and redisplay Mackintosh’s Oak Room has been bolstered by hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding from the Scottish Government and the Art Fund.
With work already underway to reconstruct the celebrated interior as a central exhibit in the new V&A museum in Dundee, the money will allow curators to show off one of the designer’s most famous works in a “major way.”
The two-storey Oak Room tearoom, some 14 metres long, was designed by Mackintosh for Miss Cranston’s Tearooms in Glasgow’s Ingram Street. However, it last functioned as a tearoom more than seven decades ago, and since the 1970s, its panels, mezzanine, and various components have been kept in storage.
Decades on, V&A Dundee and Dundee City Council are working in partnership with Glasgow Museums, which rescued the Oak Room interior from destruction in 1971 stored it in Glasgow City Council’s museum collections. The ambitious £1.3 million project has now received £200,000 from the Art Fund, with a further £100,000 coming from the Scottish Government.
Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said: “The project to conserve and restore an entire interior by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, unseen for nearly 50 years, has been one of the most exciting parts of creating V&A Dundee.
“When we set about developing galleries telling the story of Scotland’s design history, it was vital Mackintosh was represented in a major way. Now, with the aid of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund, the Scottish Government and others that has been made possible.”
Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said: “The Oak Room is one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s greatest achievements – his vision is reflected in every piece and detail of this spectacular interior – and Art Fund is thrilled to be able to support its conservation as it is painstakingly reconstructed, ready to go on display.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government is pleased to be supporting the Oak Room conservation as a central part of the new V&A Dundee, so that the public can admire once again this famous piece of Mackintosh’s work.”