Alterations to 401 Sauchiehall Street

M111 Alterations to 401 Sauchiehall Street

Address: 401, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3LG
Date: 1895
Client: James Raeburn's Trustees
Authorship: Authorship category 1 (Mackintosh) (Mackintosh)

Photograph of No. 401 Sauchiehall Street from N.E.

401 Sauchiehall Street forms the corner of a large, uniform block of shops with flats above, extending from 67 Elmbank Street to 427 Sauchiehall Street. The building dates from c. 1870 and was designed by Horatio Bromhead. 1

In June 1895, John Honeyman & Keppie were employed by the owners of 401, the Trustees of James Raeburn, to design a new shopfront for their tenant, the stationer Robert Lorimer. Drawings were approved by the Glasgow Dean of Guild Court on 1 August, and by the end of October the shop had opened. 2 Within six months, however, Lorimer was bankrupt. 3 Parts of John Honeyman & Keppie's shopfront still existed when the building was photographed in September 1929, but there is now (2012) no trace of it. 4

Dominated by large plate-glass display windows, the design is fairly simple, but it includes decorative details that suggest the involvement of Mackintosh. On the Sauchiehall Street front, the central part of the fascia has a pair of spindly balusters, and filling the panel above the door is an abstract pattern of rising and falling curves, features that recall the stone carving on Mackintosh's contemporary Glasgow Herald building in Mitchell Street and the interior woodwork at Craigie Hall. In the partly-glazed door there is a roundel of green and purple stained glass incorporating an inverted heart, while on the Elmbank Street front, Lorimer's name is framed by abstract curvilinear motifs.

The records of the Glasgow Dean of Guild Court name James Raeburn of 2 Hawarden Terrace, Partick, as one of the Trustees responsible for commissioning the new shop front. 5 This was either the father or the older brother of Lucy (1869–1952) and Agnes (1872–1955) Raeburn. 6 Both women studied at the Glasgow School of Art in the mid 1890s and were friends of Mackintosh, James Herbert McNair, Jessie Keppie (John Keppie's sister) and their circle. 7 It seems likely that the commission came to John Honeyman & Keppie through this connection.

A report on the condition of 401 Sauchiehall Street was produced as part of the Mackintosh Buildings Survey, led by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and carried out between 2015 and 2016. 8

Notes:

1: Elizabeth Williamson, Anne Riches and Malcolm Higgs, Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, London: Penguin, 1990, pp. 244–5.

2: Glasgow City Archives Collection: Glasgow Dean of Guild Court, Register of Inspections, D-OPW 25/7, p. 35; Glasgow Herald, 28 October 1895, p. 11.

3: Glasgow Herald, 28 April 1896, p. 6.

4: Glasgow City Archives Collection: D-CA 8/2932, negative 3126-7 (3N).

5: Glasgow City Archives Collection: Glasgow Dean of Guild Court, Register of Inspections, D-OPW 25/7, p. 35.

6: Census, 1891.

7: Jude Burkhauser, ed., 'Glasgow Girls': Women in Art and Design, 1880–1920, Edinburgh: Canongate, 1990, p. 76.

8: A copy of the report (MBS11) is held by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, Mackintosh Queen's Cross, 870 Garscube Road, Glasgow G20 7EL. The Mackintosh Buildings Survey was funded by The Monument Trust.