Interiors at a house in Cologne, Germany

Interiors at a house in Cologne, Germany

Address: Cologne
Date: Unknown
Client: Unknown
Authorship: Authorship category 1 (Mackintosh) (Mackintosh)

In 1953, Stanley Cursiter (1887–1976), artist and former director of the National Gallery of Scotland (1930–48), wrote to pioneering Mackintosh scholar, Thomas Howarth, in response to his investigations into Mackintosh. Cursiter recalled that, during service as a cartographer in the Second World War, he had spent time in a house which he described as on the N. side of the Hohenzollernring in Cologne not far from the river Rhein. In around 1918, the house was in use as the mess for the neighbouring Wing Command Headquarters. Cursiter believed the house itself was not designed by Mackintosh, but was convinced that Mackintosh had been responsible for the oak-furnished dining room, the white or ivory drawing room with slender Egyptian-like columns, and the white or ivory ante-room. The dining-room sideboard apparently included silver repoussé panels signed 'M. M. M.' and wrought-iron fittings and hinges in the form of thistles. According to Cursiter, the owners of the house, who remained there during its occupation, had connections to Munich and the building had been designed by architects from Munich. 1

No further details are currently (2014) known of work by Mackintosh in Cologne. Nor is it clear if there are any connections with his 1898 work in Munich for Hugo Bruckmann.

The location recalled by Cursiter suggests the house may be Villa Bestgen, designed by Munich-based architects Alois Ludwig and Gerhard Wehling in a Vienna-influenced Jugendstil for banker Carl Deichmann in 1901–3. In 1895–8, Ludwig had trained under Otto Wagner at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. 2

Authorship: These interiors are known only from Cursiter's letter to Howarth.

Status: Unknown

Notes:

1: University of Toronto, Robarts Library: Thomas Howarth papers, letter from Stanley Cursiter to Thomas Howarth, 2 February 1953, B2000-0002/035(06); Thomas Howarth, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 2nd edn, 1977, p. 148; Jill C. McKenzie, 'Stanley Cursiter 1887–1976)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, [accessed 17 June 2013].

2: 'Wegbereiter der Moderne', Köln Architektur, http://www.koelnarchitektur.de/pages/de/home/aktuell/2283.wegbereiter_der_moderne.htm, 19 April 2009, [accessed 17 June 2013]; 'Alois Ludwig', Architektenlexikon Wien 1770–1945, www.architektenlexikon.at [accessed 17 June 2013]; Der Architekt, 11, 1905, p. 109.