9352a

A PAIR OF STAINED OAK DINING CHAIRS AFTER A DESIGN BY CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH

British. Circa 1900.

Measurements

Height: 44" (112cm)
Width: 19 1/4" (49cm)
Depth: 18" (46cm)

Research
Of stained oak. The back of each surmounted by an oval top rail pierced with a swallow motif above two back splats extending to the arched stretcher, the splats flanked by tapering posts continuing to form the rear legs, the close-nail upholstered seat raised on four legs, the front legs tapering, the legs united to the front and sides by a double stretcher.

The present chairs were executed after the design by Glaswegian Art Nouveau architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928).

This particular style of chair, with high back and oval backrail pierced in the stylized shape of a flying bird, was created for the luncheon room of the Argyle Street Tea Rooms, Glasgow, circa 1898, as seen in the design drawing by Mackintosh for the Argyle Street furniture (figure 1). A contemporary photograph of the luncheon room shows the chairs standing along the central aisle of the room (figure 2). These chairs are one of the best known creations by Mackintosh and the most stylistically advanced to be designed for Argyle Street.

This design was the first of the high-backed forms to distinguish Mackintosh seating furniture, a feature with no practical function but which was incredibly innovative and which contributed to the aesthetic of the entire space.1 The tea room itself was a long and narrow space designed by Scottish architect George Henry Walton, who incorporated tall dividing partitions into its scheme. Mackintosh altered the height of the chairs with this in mind; “when the room was empty of people, the chairs stood like sentinels at the tables; and when the customers were seated, the oval panels would appear over their heads, retaining the pattern of the layout of the tables and chairs within the somewhat rigid and formal architecture of the dining room.”2

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.