Special Collections: Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Cabbages in an Orchard (1894) by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (GSA Archives)

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1894) Cabbages in an Orchard (GSA Archives)

Glasgow School of Art Library acts as one of the principal repositories for published research on Charles Rennie Mackintosh, architect of the School’s beautiful Art Nouveau building and one of its most famous alumni. It is our aim to collect as much published material on Mackintosh as we can, from academic catalogue raisonnes to small exhibition pamphlets, and from guide books to children’s books. We are always seeking to add to our holdings, and would be delighted to hear from anyone who possesses books we do not currently hold. We collect across all languages.

The comprehensiveness of the Mackintosh collection and its lengthy time-span, from 1952 to the present day, make it a rich resource for research at all levels. It offers a fascinating demonstration of how attitudes towards Mackintosh’s work have changed as he has become more widely known, and as his place in the history of twentieth century architecture has been better understood. The Collection can be used to place Mackintosh’s work in the context of what was happening in art and architecture at the turn of the twentieth century, and gives researchers an understanding of how subsequent generations of architects, such as Andy MacMillan and Steven Holl, have interpreted and been inspired by his designs.

In addition to books from well-established publishers, the Collection contains rare exhibition catalogues, pamphlets and material from lesser-known sources. These often feature, for example, specific areas of Mackintosh’s work such as his flower drawings and textile designs.

Another rich element of the Collection is GSA student dissertations about Mackintosh. These cover most of his buildings in detail, and in the case of the Mackintosh Building, analyse aspects such as the furniture and ironwork. There are many unique photographs, measured drawings and plans, some of which have proved invaluable in the post-fire restoration of the building. Work is currently underway to digitise as many of these dissertations as possible and to make them freely available.

Mackintosh’s designs for the book can be found in our Book Arts Collection.