'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Saturday 19 July 2008

Journey to the North Country: Fit the Second *

I left you on the beach on the way to Glasgow – after a wet drive and a somewhat scary negotiation of Glasgow’s idiosyncratic motorway system we arrived safely. We have been to Glasgow twice before, but always flown so driving was a new experience.

Our reason for going to Glasgow is always the same – Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald.

If you don’t know about Mackintosh, you could start here:


As I mentioned in my last post, there is a Klimt/Mackintosh connection. The Mackintoshes met Klimt when they exhibited in Vienna, and there are strong similarities between CRM’s designs, and those of the Vienna Secession. However, the art historian Nikolaus Pevsner thought Margaret was a bigger influence on Klimt than her husband, and looking at her images of women and his I can see why.

[Can’t you tell I used to be a teacher?]

On the first day we indulged in a little retail therapy in the best branch of Borders I know. Conveniently, Borders is just behind the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, which is a wonderful space.

This is the exhibition we saw:


I must confess that I had never heard of Jim Lambie before, but I loved his art. Looks like he spends a lot of time in charity shops. [That isn’t a criticism – so do I!]

Would you believe that despite the extensive website, they had no postcards of this exhibition for sale? You could buy postcards of other works of his but that wasn’t what I wanted. Very short-sighted, Glasgow!

Our second day was devoted to CRM. In the morning we visited the ‘House for an Art Lover’. It is a modern realisation of a design Mr and Mrs CRM made for a competition – and I think it shows. Beautiful of course but not really livable in! I specially liked these lights.

The setting and gardens are lovely: there was art in the surrounding parkland and an amazing children’s play park. We wished Babybel was with us although she is perhaps a little too small yet ...

In the afternoon we went to Hill House, which is the house CRM designed for the publisher Walter Blackie. Definitely livable in. It also has some of Mrs CRM’s textiles. It was fascinating to see one of her original antimacassars for the living room. You can just see the reproductions here:


Hard to believe that it dated from the beginning of the last century, the colours and use of stitch were so modern.

Our final day in Glasgow was spent at the Burrell Collection – which I have wanted to visit for a long time. Fortuitously our visit coincided with an embroidery exhibition, 'Suzani embroideries from Uzbekistan'. If I hadn’t finished my C&G work on foreign embroidery, I know what I would be doing! Wonderful embroideries set in context, free admission, an excellent free leaflet with lots of colour illustrations, good cafe and lots of postcards. Well done Glasgow!

The rest of the Burrell collection isn’t bad either.

More tomorrow - probably.

[*with thanks to Lewis Carroll.]


Carol said...

Lovely CRM post, so interesting. You're very lucky to be able to get there and see it all. Bit envious, but maybe one day I'll get there. I now have a new grand daughter - Lucilla is 3 months and Sophia 2 yrs 5 mths, gorgeous little girls. Your BabyBelle must be growing fast.

Jackie said...

I am sorry I've been away from your blog,its becasue I put all my regular reads on Google reader and accidentally left a few off which I keep finding. You may or may not be interested to know that my husband restored the 'May Queen' and 'The Wassail' Panels some years ago, before they went on exhibition as part of the tearoom reconstruction.