Stunning Scots island mansion up for sale at £900k

Achamore House was partly designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Picture: Donald MacLeodAchamore House was partly designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Achamore House was partly designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Picture: Donald MacLeod
WEALTHY Scots have the rare opportunity to buy a stunning island mansion partly designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Achamore House, on the famous Isle of Gigha off the west coast of Kintyre, is on sale for offers over £900,000.

Experts say there is strong evidence that Mackintosh helped design the house and even visited the island in the 1900s to supervise work.

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His signature thistle design appears in the drawing room, and some of the plaster ceilings and woodwork echo another of his creations - the famous Glasgow Herald building.

There is even a ground floor plan of the building, drawn by Mackintosh himself, on show in the Glasgow Hunterian museum.

The 14-bedroomed property is located on the Isle of Gigha, made famous when the 160-strong community bought back the island from private landlords in 2002.

It was first built in 1882, but a devastating fire in 1896 left everything but the billiard room destroyed.

Mackintosh was part of the firm who were in charge of remodelling and rebuilding the house - leading many experts to believe he had strong involvement in its new design.

The drawing room ceiling has strapwork similar to the editor’s room of Mackintosh’s contemporary Glasgow Herald building, with bosses in the form of stylised thistles, shamrocks and roses along the cornice.

The dining room panelling and chimneypiece have more of this type of Art Nouveau plasterwork.

A drawing, which appears to be in Mackintosh’s hand, shows a ground plan of the house in 1903 - and remained in his possession until his death.

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Further evidence of his involvement is provided by Ronald Harrison, an early student of Mackintosh’s architecture in the 1930s, who had access to the office records.

He included Achamore House on lists he compiled of works he believed were by Mackintosh, and of drawings produced in the office during Mackintosh’s time.

The impressive property, which also boasts eight reception rooms and nine bathrooms, was also visited by The Queen as recently as 2007, when she stopped off on the island as part of her 80th birthday celebrations.

It is currently run as a bed and breakfast, with two of the rooms even named “Rennie” and “Mackintosh” in honour of the architect.

The house is situated in Achamore Gardens, which were the creation of Colonel Sir James Horlick who bought the island in 1944.

He had a particular passion for rhododendrons, and the woodland gardens around the property are still home to a renowned collection of the spectacular species.

The island, home to less than 200 people, is only seven miles long and half a mile wide and boasts a golf course, private grass airstrip and protected yacht anchorage.

Savills, who are selling the house, write in the property description: “There is strong evidence that Mackintosh himself worked on Achamore House.

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“He and a colleague in the firm, James McNair, are known to have travelled to Gigha to supervise work.

“Several features in the house support Mackintosh’s involvement and a number of experts visiting the house in recent years are in consensus with this theory.

“Most notably, Mackintosh’s signature design of the Scottish thistle with the whiplash neck appears in the drawing room.”

They also add that the house is an “elegant category B listed mansion” which has a “delightful setting in the centre of the island of Gigha.”

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