The design influences of Charles Rennie Mackintosh have sunk tendrils deep into Glasgow’s cultural identity over the course of 100 years.
His architecture remains among the city’s finest – from his first The Lighthouse he designed as a junior draughtsman, to House For An Art Lover built deep among the foliage of Bellahouston Park.
As the world embraced the novelty of Japonism from the far east, Mackintosh relarly defied convention. His surname for one – originally McIntosh – was misspelt in the 1880’s and finding it humorous, it stuck.
‘The Quest for Charles Rennie Mackintosh’ by actor and writer John Cairney published in 1915 claims soldiers apprehended the Glaswegian on suspicion of being a German Spy.
The Scot was living in self-imposed exile in Suffolk with his artist wife Margaret Macdonald, when locals reported to police what they saw as the couple’s strange behaviour: late-night walks along the shore arousing suspicion among the locals.
Fearing they had a spy in their midst, police called in the army. When soldiers arrived at his home, they were convinced Mackintosh was German after failing to understand an abundance of curses in his strong Glaswegian accent.
Searching his home, soldiers came across letters written from a German artist friend and threw him in a Suffolk jail.
He would have undoubtedly faced a firing squad, had wife Margaret not convinced the magistrate of his innocence.
Cairney reports that Mackintosh kept quiet from the moment of his arrest, only chuckling at the sheer absurdity of the situation he had found himself in.