Interiors for 14 Kingsborough Gardens

Interiors for 14 Kingsborough Gardens

Address: 34, Kingsborough Gardens, Glasgow G12 9NJ
Date: 1901
Client: Robert Rowat
Authorship: Authorship category 1 (Mackintosh) (Mackintosh)

Colour photograph of 14 Kingsborough Gardens

Mackintosh designed white-painted fitted and free-standing furniture and stencilled wall decoration for the drawing room at 14 Kingsborough Gardens for shipowner Robert James Rowat – cousin of the designer and Art School teacher, Jessie Newbery – and his wife Jenny. He also designed a dark-stained settle for the entrance hall, and stencilled wall decoration for the second-floor bedroom of the clients' eleven year-old daughter, Maud. 1 The furniture included a remodelled fireplace with carved mantelpiece and square purple glass inlays; fitted corner seating upholstered in grey linen with green and white stencilled decoration; two upholstered armchairs; an oval table and two free-standing cabinets. The wall decoration was stencilled in grey, pink and green. 2

It appears the work was carried out shortly after the Rowats acqured the house. In the 1901 census, taken on 31 March, the family are registered at 4 Belhaven Terrace; by May, the publication date of the 1901–2 Glasgow Post Office Directory, Robert Rowat's home address is given as 14 Kingsborough Gardens. 3

The work must have been a private commission as no related entries appear in John Honeyman & Keppie's job books or cash book. The commission may therefore have been agreed before the end of 1901, when Mackintosh was taken into partnership and restrictions on private work were introduced. The work continued into the period of the new partnership: a drawing for the cabinets by Mackintosh is dated 1902; a payment of 40 0s 0d from 'Mrs Rowat', recorded in the cash book on 10 May 1905, may relate to this project. 4

Mackintosh carried out work for other members of the Rowat family: for Robert Rowat's mother, Margaret, at Warriston, Paisley; his sister Isabella Wylie Hill, at 3 Lilybank Gardens; and his cousin, Edith Rowat, at Prospect Hill House, Paisley. Early in his career Mackintosh also worked on the business premises of R. Wylie Hill & Co, the firm of Isabella's husband, Robert. 5

Authorship: The work is known from surviving drawings by Mackintosh. Photographs were published under Mackintosh's name in Dekorative Kunst in March 1902, and in Hermann Muthesius's seminal publication, Das englische Haus. The free-standing furniture was included in the later publication. 6
Versions of the armchairs, oval table and cabinets were exhibited at Moscow in winter 1902–3 under Mackintosh's name; related chairs, with stencilled rather than upholstered backs, and an oval table were exhibited in Turin in Spring 1902. 7

Status: Standing building; subdivided into flats

Current name: 34 Kingsborough Gardens

Current use: Residential (2014)

Listing category: B (Listed as '22–38 (even nos) Kingsborough Gardens')

Historic Scotland/HB Number: 32544

RCAHMS Site Number: NS56NE 4015

Grid Reference: NS 55963 67487

Notes:

1: Dekorative Kunst, 5, March 1902, p. 205–7; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: GLAHA 41787; GLAHA 41788; GLAHA 41789; 1901 census and birth record, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 17 June 2013].

2: Dekorative Kunst, 5, March 1902, p. 205–7; Roger Billcliffe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh: The Complete Furniture, Furniture Drawings and Interior Designs, Moffat, Dumfriesshire: Cameron & Hollis, 4th edn, 2009, pp. 129–37; Alan Crawford, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, London: Thames & Hudson, 1995, pp. 90–1. Part of the original stencilled wallpaper was uncovered and salvaged in 1992 and is now held at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, GLAHA 41281, see Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletter, 61, Spring 1993, p. 3.

3: 1901 census, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 17 June 2013]; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1901–2, p. 563.

4: Although dated much later than this work, there is no other Rowat-family project with which the payment can be linked: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: GLAHA 41118; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie, Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh, Keppie Henderson cash book, GLAHA 53079, p. 92. Photocopy of a manuscript copy by John Keppie of the 'Contract of Partnership between John Keppie, Architect, in Glasgow, of the first part, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Architect there of the second part', 10 October 1901. Supplied by Roger Billcliffe, 30 April 2012. Original untraced.

5: Information on the Rowat family supplied by Mark Stephens, a descendant, by email, 10 October 2012.

6: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: GLAHA 41118; GLAHA 41787; GLAHA 41788; GLAHA 41789; GLAHA 41281; Dekorative Kunst, 5, March 1902, p. 205–7; Hermann Muthesius, Das englische Haus, 3, Berlin: Ernst Wasmuth Verlag, 1905, p. 189, plate 212

7: Mir iskusstva, 1903, no. 3, p. 117; Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, 10, 1902, p. 586.