Another Mackintosh day today and we took Bessie in to Glasgow, this time heading for Bellahouston Park, which turned out to be a delightful place.

Getting there we passed by Rangers Football Ground at Ibrox Park.


Plenty of parking available at Bellahouston Park – a very busy place with all sorts of sports equipment available and also a ski dry slope. Now it won’t surprise anyone who knows me that neither of these were the reason we were going there! Let me explain…

Situated in the park is the House for an Art Lover. It has a fascinating history which defines the pioneering creativity of its designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the ambition and ingenuity of a group of dedicated artists and engineers who worked to complete his vision more than 70 years later.


An explanation from the website but the photos are mine:

In 1901 Mackintosh, Glasgow’s most famous architect, entered a competition to design a “Haus Eines Kunstfreundes” or “Art Lovers House” set by German design magazine “Zeitschrift Fur Innendekoration”.

The rules of the competition stated that only “genuinely original modern designs will be considered”. It went on to make the somewhat unusual proposition that ‘it is permissible and even desirable that an Architect and a Decorative Artist of modern tastes develop and submit the design jointly’, a situation which more than suited Mackintosh who worked on the project with his new wife, Margaret Macdonald.

The rules were comprehensive and included a specification of client requirements such as room sizes, position of staircases, external finishes and a maximum cost. Within these practical constraints, Mackintosh and Macdonald were able to exercise considerable freedom of design expression.

In the end, although Mackintosh was lauded for his competition design, his entry was disqualified on the grounds of a technical breach of the rules as he was late in submitting certain interior views of the house. The judges, however, were impressed by Mackintosh’s entry commending it for its distinctive colouring, impressive design and cohesiveness of inner and outer construction.


Some plans for the Music Room

For more than 80 years Mackintosh’s concept remained merely that, an unrealised design on paper, until, in 1989, Graham Roxburgh, the Consulting Engineer responsible for restoring Mackintosh interiors in nearby Craigie Hall, had the idea to finally build the House for an Art Lover.

The drawings which Mackintosh produced, although very detailed for a competition entry, were not intended as technical plans from which an actual house would be built and the task of interpreting and turning them into reality was the challenge which faced Roxburgh’s team of architects, led by Professor Andy MacMillan, then Head of Architecture at Mackintosh’s world-renowned Glasgow School of Art.

Work began on building the House in 1989, but before the first brick could be laid lots of detective work was needed to fill the gaps where Mackintosh’s drawings which showed only the sketchiest details. In some places there were inconsistencies between the exterior and interior form of the building and MacMillan and his team had to pick their wits to resolve the plan of the House and flesh out details for the interiors. Other buildings which Mackintosh had completed during his lifetime were crucial in providing clues for the House for an Art Lover.Roxburgh’s dream finally became a reality in 1990 when the building exterior and much of the interior and craftwork were completed by his remarkable team of architects, designers, builders and craftsmen.

However, recession in the early Nineties forced the project to be temporarily halted. Interior work and landscaping resumed in 1994, revived by collaboration between Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow School of Art and the house was finally opened to the public in 1996.




Chairs in Main Hall


Dining Room – the coloured lampshades have influenced the colour of the wood panelling


Gesso panel detail – there are 25 of them altogether




Stained glass panel in door to Music Room

The Music Room, unfortunately, had some modern tables with cloths on which did not belong in this room but they were preparing some of the rooms for a wedding party later in the afternoon.  You will have to imagine the room without them!



Ceiling light detail


Piano and two alcoves in Music Room