International Decorative Art

Low-Back Chair from the Argyle Street Tea Room

Low-Back Chair from the Argyle Street Tea Room

Design Date 1897–1900

Designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928, Scottish)

Media white oak wood and cloth upholstery

Dimensions 38 3/8 x 19 x 17 1/4 inches

In the late 1890s Miss Kate Cranston enlarged and redecorated her first tearooms at 114 Argyle Street. The interiors were gutted and redone with architectural work by Hugh and David Barclay, decorations and fitted furniture by George Walton and new moveable furniture and some light fittings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Mackintosh was commissioned to create at least 10 different chairs and numerous tables and light fittings for Argyle Street, his first large commission where he had complete creative and financial freedom. These designs were the basis for most of Mackintosh’s creations over the next three years. This chair embodies the Glasgow School aesthetic, with strong rectangular and linear forms in the double-bars on the chair legs and in the slats on the back of the chair, as well as softer, more organic shapes seen in the curve of the back of the chair and the arch underneath the seat. The chair is at once robust and delicate, masculine and feminine, perfect for the Scottish tea room, a space where Scottish men and women socialized both together and separately at the turn of the 20th century.

ON VIEW in Art Nouveau Gallery 4

Markings unmarked

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2004.1971