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Thursday, 25 October 2012

The genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

It seems I have loads to catch up on, but I may be able to do that during the winter when I can’t get out and about.  In the meantime I have few recent visits to places where I only took a handful of photos. 

hill house helensburgh Not so long ago I visited friends over to the west of Glasgow, and from there I went to look at The Hill House in Helensburgh.  I’m a big fan of Scots Arts and Crafts architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Hill House is one of his most marvellous designs.  It was commissioned in 1902 by Walter Blackie, a Glasgow publisher, and Mackintosh was not only to design the house but also the furniture for several rooms.   hill house front door The Blackie family moved into their completed home in 1904, and lived there for many years.  It now belongs to the National Trust for Scotland who won’t allow photos to be taken inside, so all I can show you are exterior pictures.  The front door is very typical Mackintosh.  I love it.  You enter a wide passage  with a cloakroom to your left, pass the enclosed staircase also on your left and fireplace to the right, climb three or four steps to find yourself in the hall.  hill house sculpture The stairs lead from this level into this rounded extended tower and turn on themselves to reach the upper landing.  The doorway, left, must  lead to the hall too.

Downstairs, off the hall are the library, the dining room and the fabulous sitting room with its alcove at one end especially for the grand piano.   I would love to curl up in a chair with a book, by the fire in the library.  It was so cosy.  Going upstairs you pass a little intimate sitting area tucked in behind the cloakroom.  There is another similar but slightly bigger seating area on the landing, where apparently the Blackie children enjoyed playing.  Several bedrooms are accessed from the landing, as well as the family bathroom complete with shower cubicle which looked like an instrument of torture but was in fact a modern wonder of its day, all made of pipes and jets to shower one from every direction!

hill house back  The L-shaped master bedroom, along with its furniture and furnishings completely designed by Mackintosh, is beautiful.  Its windows are on the sunny side of the house, and below them the windows of the sitting room, looking out to the terrace, below, and beyond to the garden.

hill house detail

I wish you could see pictures of the interior, but there’s nothing for it but to visit the house yourself.hill house garden shed   I can’t find anything on the internet showing any of the rooms.

The service rooms - kitchen, store rooms, laundry, etc, are all at the back of the house, and the little round building by the steps must be the garden shed.  Were the gardener’s tools stored in here, or perhaps it was an apple store – or both.   Maybe the turret houses the “back stairs” by which the maids could access the upper floors.

I spent the whole of the afternoon in the house not wanting to miss a single detail, but I’d go back anytime for another look!  It’s amazing how you forget the details.

Talk again soon.


Katrina said...

We are going to have to go back there because we couldn't get into the garden at all as the rain was torrential. I really enjoyed the house although it was absolutely heaving with people, all dodging the rain too. I was surprised that the harling is in bad condition and hope that they decide just to take it all off and start again with a better kind of cement.

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

It wasn't too busy the day I was there, thank goodness. Seems there was a reaction between the harling and the stone or brick the house was built of. I think they should take it off and replace it too, but there seem to be folk who think that will ruin the essence of the place!!! I read something yesterday about them replacing harling somewhere - just can't remember where - and I thought if they can do it to this building they surely can do it to Hill House. Now just where was that? .....