House at Kilmacolm

M216 House at Kilmacolm

Address: Kilmacolm
Date: 1902
Authorship: Authorship category 1 (Mackintosh) (Mackintosh)

The commission for a house at Kilmacolm may have come about as a result of Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh's completion of Dunottar in the village in December 1901. This was just a few months after Mackintosh's nearby Windyhill – a private commission – was finished. The drawings are not inscribed with the name of the practice, but they are inscribed with the office address at 140 Bath Street, Glasgow. It is not known who commissioned the design. What may be the client's monogram appears below the oriel window on the E. gable, but it is indecipherable. The footprint does not appear to correspond with any house in Kilmacolm shown on the revised O.S. map published in 1913, and it therefore seems likely that it was not built. 1

The crow-stepped gables, conical roofed stair turret and gabled dormer with thistle finial are all derived from Scottish architecture of the 17th century, and the design has been described by David Walker as being 'rather in the Franco-Scots style of [William] Leiper'. 2 This use of historical sources harks back to buildings of the 1890s by John Honeyman & Keppie on which Mackintosh worked. The depressed ogee over the front door is familiar from the Glasgow Herald building, Martyrs' Public School and Queen Margaret College Anatomy Department, and this feature was still being used by the practice as late as 1904 at 309–313 Sauchiehall Street.

The drawings are not signed, but they appear to be in Mackintosh's hand, and the fact that they remained in his possession at his death tends to confirm that he was responsible for the design. By 1902, at Windyhill and The Hill House, he had moved decisively away from such overt historicism, but writing in 1905 to F. J. Shand about Auchinibert, he expressed his willingness to design in whatever historical style the client wanted. 3

Notes:

1: O.S., Renfrewshire, 1:2500, sheet VII.05, 1913.

2: David M. Walker, 'The Early Work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh', in Nikolaus Pevsner and J. M. Richards, eds, The Anti-Rationalists, London: Architectural Press, 1973.

3: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: letter from Mackintosh to F. J. Shand, 15 September 1905, GLAHA 55480.