Glasgow School: Scottish Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts to Art Nouveau

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Flowers

He who has taken lessons from nature...has observed the real purpose and operation of flowers; how they flush forth from the brightness of the earth's being. ~John Ruskin

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Charles Renne Mackintosh Butterfly flowers, tumbled marble stone tile. WilliamMorrisTile.com

These Spring Flower tiles are based on a series of drawings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the late 1890s - early 1900s. Many were drawn in Sussex, where he would stay with friends to get away from the pressure of his architecture firm. In his later years, Mackintosh's name became synonymous with Art Nouveau but that direction can be identified early on. One sees the beginning of that influence in Frittilaria especially. Because Mackintosh painted his flowers over several years, they show the evolution from Arts & Crafts to Art Nouveau in a unique way, while having integrity within themselves.

The backstory

Mackintosh's flowers have an interesting backstory. When you examine his drawing closely, they appear incomplete. This was actually by design; it is how nature specimens were drawn in order to show detail more correctly.

Mackintosh did four sketchbooks of drawings over several years, but two are lost. Only one drawing, Begonias, ever sold. When the Mackintosh estate was liquidated in 1933, there was no interest in the flower drawings or sketchbooks and none sold. All were packed away and forgotten until 1973.

Some of the drawings are of native species, but many are cultivated. A little surprising, many were drawn, not in his native Scotland as you might expect, but in Sussex where he traveled a few times a year to visit friends and escape the pressures of his architectural firm. The color is pure watercolor over pencil, not opaque. They seem almost like meditations.

I will be adding to this collection over time.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Flowers, 6 inch ceramic tiles

From top left: Wild Pansies, Japanese Witch Hazel, Frittilaria, Anemone, Great Mullein, Dianthus, Spurge, Borage, Blackthorn, Willow Herb, Heart Ease, Crab Apple, Alder Catkins, Butterfly flowers, Cuckoo Flower

About Charles Rennie Mackintosh

The Glasgow School of Art was the hub of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland in the late 1880s and 1890s. With Herbert McNair, and Frances and Margaret MacDonald, Charlies Rennie Macintosh was one of the four Glasgow School of Art principals who created and directed Glasgow Style. An important element of Glasgow style was Celtic imagery and lettering. Like William Morris, Mackintosh was a diligent student of nature, as his flower drawings illustrate.

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Pricing for Mackintosh Flowers

Ceramic Tiles

4.25 inch square tiles: $44

6 inch square tiles: $67

Tumbled Marble Stone Tiles

4 inch square tiles: $54

6 inch square tiles: $77

Glasgow Flowers Specificatons

Title: Arts & Crafts Flowers, Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Complete Set:15 individual tiles

Background Colors

Tile: Tumbled stone (colors vary)

Ceramic: Background color can be changed on ceramic. Shown is Heart Ease on bisque, Navajo, parchment, and wheat backgrounds.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh flowers shown on bisque, Navajo, parchment, and wheat backgrounds.