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Italian Sketchbook

This sketchbook consists of 81 pages of sketches made by Charles Rennie Mackintosh during his trip to Italy in 1891 funded by his Greek Thomson travelling scholarship prize money. The subjects he sketched are mainly architectural, with the one he felt to be most impressive being labelled 'A Caution'. Each sketch is labelled with the name of the city or town in which it was sketched. In 1890 Mackintosh won the Alexander 'Greek' Thomson Travelling Scholarship with a design for a public hall, which enabled him to take an extensive tour abroad from February to July 1891. He left Glasgow for London on 21 March 1891, sailing from Tilbury on the Thames on 27 March and arriving in Naples on 5 April. He then visited Palermo in Sicily, Rome, Orvieto, Siena, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Bologna, Ravenna, Ferrara, Venice, Padua, and Vicenza, arriving in Verona on 10 June 1891. The Sketchbook contains drawings from the later part of Mackintosh's tour, from 10th June, with sketches, mostly of architectural and sculptural details, beginning with Verona. It covers Verona (11-14 June); Mantua (14 June); Cremona (14-15 June); Brescia (16 June); Bergamo (17 June); Lecco (18 June); Cadenabbia and Lake Como (19-25 June); Como (26-27 June); Milan (28 June-6 July); Pavia (7 July-?); Certosa di Pavia (probably several days around 12 July); Paris and Chateau d'Ecouen (late July?); Antwerp (late July? - briefly visited on his return journey). It also contains several pages of designs for the Glasgow Art Club (1892-3) and the Glasgow Herald Building (1893-5). The drawings themselves are almost all pencil sketches, some of which are now quite faint.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Design for Glasgow School of Art: plan of second floor

Architectural drawing showing second floor plan. The addition of this floor in the 1907-09 stage of building did not change the external appearance of Mackintosh's original two storey facade as the set back series of studios are not visible from street level. The plan shows how Mackintosh linked the two ends of the floor, by passing the already built Director's studio with the 'Hen-Run'.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Design for Glasgow School of Art: south elevation

Architectural drawing showing back elevation of building.'Even after his revisions to the first half of the building, and the proposed alterations pencilled on the 1907 elevation, Mackintosh made a few others. This drawing, from a set made in 1910 of the completed building, shows the facade as it is, including the parts that are now virtually invisible' (McLaren Young).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Design for Glasgow School of Art: plan of basement floor - East wing

Architectural drawing showing basement plan of building. This sketch, very possibly not in Mackintosh's own hand but drawn by a draughtsman in his office, shows how the accommodation was arranged in the East wing basement before the GSA was completed with the addition of the West wing in 1906-09. The technical studios on the plan were housed in a temporary building which can be seen in the perspective drawing of the unfinished GSA.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Design for Glasgow School of Art: back elevation

Architectural drawing showing back elevation. On the left is the tower block of the Library. The little walkway at the top of the building (the 'Hen Run') links the new West wing with the earlier East wing, separated by the already built Director's Studio. The greenhouse cantilevered out from a studio on the top floor provided models for still life painting. The superimposed alterations show changes made to the first building, and those in pencil others thought of between 1907 and 1910.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

The Descent of Night

Appears in The Magazine, April 1894. 'The central figure is based upon that used in the 1893 design for a diploma for the GSA and like that in 'The Harvest Moon', has wings like an angel. Here, however, she appears naked and her outstretched arms and hair merge and are transformed into barren tree-like forms. These descend to the horizon behind which the sun is gradually disappearing under the feet of the winged figure. From the bottom of the picture, and directly beneath the sun, rises a flight of menacing birds. They are presumably nocturnal birds of prey and they seem to be flying directly towards the viewers. This is one of Mackintosh's earliest uses of this strange bird, which was to become more stylised and to appear in many different forms, in several media in his oeuvre.' (Roger Billcliffe).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

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