CRAIGIE HALL
BELLAHOUSTON
GLASGOW
“...Glasgow’s Victorian House...”
John Gerrard
Scottish Civic Trust
23 March 1978
“The b...
CRAIGIE HALL HISTORY
Craigie Hall was built in 1872 for Joseph Maclean, son of a local mill owning family. He
appointed on...
A 1981 letter from the Planning Office stated
......Craigie Hall was in 1978 included in the Secretary of State’s Listed B...
ENTRANCE HALL
The Entrance Hall is from the original Honeyman design of 1872. An immediate reception
area is defined by fo...
THE LIBRARY
A common feature in the design of larger Victorian Houses was a study or library located
within easy reach of ...
THE DINING ROOM
The Dining Room remains virtually as designed by John Honeyman in 1872 with an
extravagant plaster ceiling...
THE DRAWING ROOM
The main body of the Drawing Room dates from the original Honeyman design of 1872.
However, as part of th...
The large white fireplace and overmantel at the end of the room would therefore have been
detailed in part by Mackintosh. ...
THE MUSIC ROOM
In 1897, four years after his initial involvement at Craigie Hall, Mackintosh returned in a
more independen...
The organ design reappeared in a modified form in two later Mackintosh designs. His
competition entry for a concert hall f...
THE CONSERVATORY
The Conservatory forms part of the 1893 extension to the house.
The mosaic floor is one of two references...
BILLIARDS ROOM
The Billiards Room formed part of the 1893 extension. It has a steeply glazed double pitched
roof containin...
THE BACK GATE
This gate which was one of a pair found at the rear of oil tanks at the rear of Craigie Hall
was not discove...
CONNECTIONS
Far from being a standalone house, Craigie Hall is woven into the fabric of the City of
Glasgow by its archite...
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Save Craigie Hall, an early Charles Rennie Mackintosh Masterpiece

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Craigie Hall was in 1978 included in the Secretary of State’s Listed Buildings of Special
Architectural or Historic Interest of Category A. (This is the highest grading and notes a building
of national or international significance).
This was in recognition not only of the fine qualities of the exterior of this very substantial
Victorian villa, but also of the superb interiors, remodelled in places by the internationally
celebrated Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The building represents what is for Glasgow a unique
example of its kind, namely a splendid late Victorian house built for a wealthy entrepreneur,
altered and updated over the years using the very best materials and the most prestigious architects
available at the time, resulting in a building in late 19th Century classical style with interiors of the
highest standard possible.
The
charming face carved into the fitted armchair in the corner is an example of the designs of
Mackintosh and his group at the Glasgow School of Art during the early 1890’s.
The curious bird-like forms which almost seem to have alighted on top of the book cases are
one of the earliest examples of a motif which was to reappear many times in Mackintosh’s
work. The bay windowed cupboards set into the face of the shelving appear later in the south
face of Mackintosh’s masterwork, the Glasgow School of Art. But, the overall design retains
a Victorian solidity that testifies both to Mackintosh’s youth and to the guiding hand of John
Keppie who would have supervised his work.
Mackintosh appears to have been responsible for the design.
The large white fireplace and overmantel at the end of the room would therefore have been
detailed in part by Mackintosh. It is a very similar design to the piece that he detailed for
the Smoking Room at the Glasgow Art Club in 1892, the principal difference being that,
at Craigie Hall, the fireplace is and always has been white. This scheme of decoration
(promoted in 1873 by Mary Howeis) was a means of delineating the more feminine domain
of the house in contrast with the more formal and masculine decoration of the remainder.
In 1897, four years after his initial involvement at Craigie Hall, Mackintosh returned in a
more independent role to add the organ case to the Music Room. In the previous year he
had won the competition to design the new Glasgow School of Art. We can assume that
Thomas Mason had appreciated and enjoyed the ‘unusual’ elements in the 1893 work and
Mackintosh’s competition success may have been the spur for him to develop his association
with this up and coming designer. If so, he possibly got more than he bargained for!
At the opposite end of the room is a fireplace with an overmantel designed by Mackintosh
displaying charming carved decorative pieces reminiscent of the work of Aubrey Beardsley.
The organ case is perhaps Mackintosh’s most significant piece of interior work prior to
1900. It is his only surviving musical instrument.

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Transcript of "Save Craigie Hall, an early Charles Rennie Mackintosh Masterpiece"

  1. 1. CRAIGIE HALL BELLAHOUSTON GLASGOW “...Glasgow’s Victorian House...” John Gerrard Scottish Civic Trust 23 March 1978 “The building represents what is for Glasgow a unique example of its kind...” James Rae Director of Planning City of Glasgow 22 October 1981 Drawing Room Craigie Hall 1985
  2. 2. CRAIGIE HALL HISTORY Craigie Hall was built in 1872 for Joseph Maclean, son of a local mill owning family. He appointed one of Glasgow’s leading Victorian domestic architects John Honeyman (later Honeyman & Keppie) to design this new house. The house was acquired in 1893 by Thomas Mason (later Sir Thomas), who, starting as a stonemason in Coatbridge, became an entrepreneur and industrialist responsible for building and civil engineering works all over Scotland and the North of England He acquired and extended the house to celebrate his recent success in completing the building of the Glasgow City Chambers. He added a Billiards Room, Conservatory and Ante- Drawing Room. He also commisioned a major fit-out of the Entrance Hall, Library and, in 1897, the Music Room. He used the same firm of architects – this time with considerable input from a young Charles Rennie Mackintosh. On Mason’s death in 1925, Craigie Hall was acquired by Fred Green, Managing Director of the family company which owned the famed Green’s Playhouses. Based in Glasgow, they were one of the largest cinema businesses in Europe. Fred, in due course, provided funding for the launch, in Hollywood, of United Artists by Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin (see Connections). After the deaths of both Mr & Mrs Green by 1977, the property was briefly owned by a development company which planned to demolish the Hall itself. Due to prompt action by the Scottish Civic Trust (their impassioned submission is attached) and the support of the Director of Planning, the house was saved from demolition. Craigie Hall elevations 1892 The young Mackintosh
  3. 3. A 1981 letter from the Planning Office stated ......Craigie Hall was in 1978 included in the Secretary of State’s Listed Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest of Category A. (This is the highest grading and notes a building of national or international significance). This was in recognition not only of the fine qualities of the exterior of this very substantial Victorian villa, but also of the superb interiors, remodelled in places by the internationally celebrated Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The building represents what is for Glasgow a unique example of its kind, namely a splendid late Victorian house built for a wealthy entrepreneur, altered and updated over the years using the very best materials and the most prestigious architects available at the time, resulting in a building in late 19th Century classical style with interiors of the highest standard possible. In all of his dealings with Craigie Hall , the new owner is to be highly commended for pursuing the very highest standard of restoration, and not least, for his gesture towards the people of Glasgow by rescuing one of their finer architectural works from a state of decay. When the last owner and occupant of the building died, it proved impossible to find a buyer of sufficient means to use the building, or to subdivide it into smaller residential units without totally compromising the integrity of the whole building...... Craigie Hall 1983
  4. 4. ENTRANCE HALL The Entrance Hall is from the original Honeyman design of 1872. An immediate reception area is defined by four marbleised wooden ionic columns and pilasters, a superb tiled floor and ornate ceiling plasterwork. The door itself contains a beautiful stained glass panel (attributed by Michael Donnelly to Sir James Guthrie circa 1893). A wistful lady is shown drawing a cloak about her, whilst the translucent glass background gives a tantalising view of the green garden beyond. Mackintosh’s involvement can be seen in the design of the elaborate door cases forming the entrances into the Dining Room, Library and Drawing Room. The original door cases of 1872 were in traditional Victorian style. Mackintosh’s embellishment added grand door cases and overdoors. The carved friezes above the doors feature a stylised thistle motif. Thistles reappear elsewhere in the house – in the plaster frieze of the 1897 Music Room and in the matching carved panels either side of the chimneypiece at the end of Drawing Room. The three large stained glass windows over the staircase have been attributed by Michael Donnelly to James Adam, a pupil of Daniel Cottier and are best viewed from the landing at the top of the stairs. They depict three scenes on what appears to be a theme of mediaeval courtship. Craigie Hall 1985
  5. 5. THE LIBRARY A common feature in the design of larger Victorian Houses was a study or library located within easy reach of the front door. This would often serve as an office where business visitors to the house could be received without intruding on the more informal parts of the building. Craigie Hall followed this pattern. In 1893 the room was significantly altered with the introduction of the superbly crafted mahogany library fittings. These exhibit features directly attributable to Mackintosh. The charming face carved into the fitted armchair in the corner is an example of the designs of Mackintosh and his group at the Glasgow School of Art during the early 1890’s. The curious bird-like forms which almost seem to have alighted on top of the book cases are one of the earliest examples of a motif which was to reappear many times in Mackintosh’s work. The bay windowed cupboards set into the face of the shelving appear later in the south face of Mackintosh’s masterwork, the Glasgow School of Art. But, the overall design retains a Victorian solidity that testifies both to Mackintosh’s youth and to the guiding hand of John Keppie who would have supervised his work. Mackintosh appears to have been responsible for the design of the frieze. This manages to blend with the ornate cornice-work of the Honeyman ceiling while introducing a distinctly modern element. The wallpaper is a design by the English Arts and Crafts Architect and Designer Charles Voysey. It was chosen because of the known influence Voysey had on Mackintosh, ten years his junior, and the arrangement of the two birds is similar to the carved wooden birds which face each other above the organ in the Music Room and over the piano in the House for an Art Lover. Library 1983
  6. 6. THE DINING ROOM The Dining Room remains virtually as designed by John Honeyman in 1872 with an extravagant plaster ceiling and inlaid floors. It is more formal than the other interiors and does not appear to have been altered in the various refurbishments apart from the 1985 addition of an art nouveau central light fitting rescued from an early cinema known as ‘The Electric Light Theatre’. The wallpaper is a late Victorian design manufactured in contemporary material by Sandersons. By courtesy of the Clydeport plc, a reproduction of a 1919 portrait of Sir Thomas Mason, when Chairman of the Clyde Navigation Trust and the second owner of Craigie Hall hung over the handsome black marble fireplace. The embossed Tynecastle frieze surrounding the room is of a type used in a number of prosperous Scottish houses around 1870. This example exhibits garlands of flowers, whilst that in the drawing room has an aquatic theme. Dining Room 1985
  7. 7. THE DRAWING ROOM The main body of the Drawing Room dates from the original Honeyman design of 1872. However, as part of the work done in 1893 the south wall was opened up to create an ante- Drawing Room and to provide access into the Conservatory. The line of the original wall is flanked by the four marble columns and pilasters with bronze Corinthian capitals. These are the second indication of Thomas Mason’s connection with the City Chambers. They are of the same design as those used extensively in its interiors. In the mid 90’s, the Room was selected as one of Glasgow’s Ten Best Interiors – a photographic exhibition at the City’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery. The ceiling is perhaps the most extravagant in the house. By kind permission of Glasgow Museums By kind permission of Glasgow Museums
  8. 8. The large white fireplace and overmantel at the end of the room would therefore have been detailed in part by Mackintosh. It is a very similar design to the piece that he detailed for the Smoking Room at the Glasgow Art Club in 1892, the principal difference being that, at Craigie Hall, the fireplace is and always has been white. This scheme of decoration (promoted in 1873 by Mary Howeis) was a means of delineating the more feminine domain of the house in contrast with the more formal and masculine decoration of the remainder. It is clear from scrapings (taken by Michael Donnelly) that the ante-Drawing Room has probably always been a white scheme of decoration and that the white paintwork has been imposed back into the originally sombre main Drawing Room. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, in 1893, this could have been an early Mackintosh white room, which later became signature theme of many of his interiors. The other indications of his involvement are the two carved panels either side of the central mirror. These thistle designs are suggestive of Mackintosh’s later water colours of flowers and certainly very distinct from the classical mouldings elsewhere on the fireplace. The client, Sir Thomas seems to have welcomed the young architect’s flashes of inspiration, both here and elsewhere in the building. By kind permission of Glasgow Museums
  9. 9. THE MUSIC ROOM In 1897, four years after his initial involvement at Craigie Hall, Mackintosh returned in a more independent role to add the organ case to the Music Room. In the previous year he had won the competition to design the new Glasgow School of Art. We can assume that Thomas Mason had appreciated and enjoyed the ‘unusual’ elements in the 1893 work and Mackintosh’s competition success may have been the spur for him to develop his association with this up and coming designer. If so, he possibly got more than he bargained for! At the opposite end of the room is a fireplace with an overmantel designed by Mackintosh displaying charming carved decorative pieces reminiscent of the work of Aubrey Beardsley. The organ case is perhaps Mackintosh’s most significant piece of interior work prior to 1900. It is his only surviving musical instrument. The elaborate mahogany case contains a Brindley and Foster hydraulic organ (not currently operational). The Music Room is a composition with the following components: Two entrance doors leading from the hall The organ at one end and a fireplace at the other Glazed screen double windows opening into the Conservatory Virtually the same composition and components appear in the Music Room at the House for an Art Lover. By kind permission of Glasgow Picture Library
  10. 10. The organ design reappeared in a modified form in two later Mackintosh designs. His competition entry for a concert hall for the 1901 International Exhibition contained a large organ, and at the House for an Art Lover, he designed a similarly elaborate superstructure for the piano in the Music Room. This design appears to have been created by both Mackintosh and his new wife Margaret MacDonald working together. The proximity of the realisation of this 1901 design Bellahouston Park enables students of design to fully appreciate the genius of Mackintosh’s leap into the body of the 20th Century. He would no doubt have been surprised to learn that a subsequent owner of Craigie Hall would build to his 1901 design some 90 years later in the nearby Bellahouston Park!
  11. 11. THE CONSERVATORY The Conservatory forms part of the 1893 extension to the house. The mosaic floor is one of two references at Craigie Hall to the interior of the Glasgow City Chambers. Thomas Mason, the second owner of Craigie Hall, who commissioned the extension, was a partner in Morrison and Mason, the builders of the City Chambers where extensive mosaic floors were laid. It seems that Mason simply invited the craftsmen involved to carry out mosaic and marble work at Craigie Hall. In the centre of the floor is Mason’s crest and motto – Demevre par la Verite – Live by the truth. When the organ was being played in the adjacent Music Room, the double windows connecting the two rooms could be opened to allow the performance to be enjoyed in a much larger space. Thus, the Conservatory and Music Room have been designed as an integrated composition complete with the Organ. The drawings for the Conservatory were by Mackintosh, the originals of which are in the Hunterian Collection. This work must have been closely supervised by John Keppie as it shows more of his style than that of Mackintosh. The interior of the Conservatory is dressed in pink sandstone from Locharbriggs Dumfriesshire. The ambience and acoustics make it a delightful sitting place in all seasons, having formed the focus of numerous family parties and charity functions – thus continuing to fulfil its original design purpose of grand entertainment.
  12. 12. BILLIARDS ROOM The Billiards Room formed part of the 1893 extension. It has a steeply glazed double pitched roof containing a passive ventilation scheme clearly designed to dissipate anticipated clouds of cigar smoke. The surrounding ceiling is curved and divided by moulded plaster ribs containing relief patterns of tropical fruit. The ceiling design is clearly based on some of the similar ceilings in the McLellan Galleries in Glasgow. The walls have oak panelling with a decorative oak dado, which, on the north wall incorporates a fine fireplace and overmantel. This incorporates a beaten brass panel with classical figures highly reminiscent of ‘Twilight’ and ‘Dawn’ by Michelangelo, in the Medici Chapel in Florence, visited by Mackintosh on 20 May 1891 during his Italian Tour. His notebook contained no sketch of these sculptures, his outstanding visual memory could certainly have carried Michelangelo’s two figures for the short period to the 1892 design. He certainly designed the apple that was inserted between the two figures so must have been responsible for the complete brass panel – an intriguing link with the great Italian Master?
  13. 13. THE BACK GATE This gate which was one of a pair found at the rear of oil tanks at the rear of Craigie Hall was not discovered until around 1983 and does not appear in any published work. It was incorporated into the rear elevation of the service wing, where it remains to date (2014). On a “balance of probability” it is believed to be designed by Mackintosh as part of the 1892 extensions.
  14. 14. CONNECTIONS Far from being a standalone house, Craigie Hall is woven into the fabric of the City of Glasgow by its architects (Mackintosh inparticular) and the contribution of its owners to the industrial, commercial and cultural heritage of the City. Joseph McLean formerly of Plantation House (owner of Craigie Hall 1872-1892) and to the family businesses which led to the exceptional qualities of Craigie Hall being realised. Thomas Mason (owner 1892-1925) whose huge contribution to the built environment of the city included the City Chambers, the Clyde Navigation Trust, the Jamaica Street Bridge, the Queen’s Dock and the dredging of the Clyde. Fred Green (owner 1925-1978) also owner of the cinema chain including Green’s Playhouse Glasgow then the largest cinema in Europe with 3400 seats. Fred was a limited partner in United Artists with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. Plantation House Glasgow Craigie Hall 1987 Queen’s Dock Glasgow City Chambers Glasgow Green’s Playhouse Glasgow Fred Green and friend

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