Be the first to like this
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.
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.