Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of the greatest minds of all time. A true Glaswegian hero and certified genius, but did you know that he wasn’t born into a family with wealth? Rather he was born into a family with 11 other siblings and his father was Superintendent.

His work and influence can be seen across Glasgow, however during his life he effectively left Glasgow penniless, moving to London in the hope of reigniting his fortunes. Sadly he died after a battle with cancer. Like the majority of tormented geniuses throughout history, his sublime work was only truly recognised for its artistic merit long after his death.

We bring you 8 things we bet you never knew about Charles Rennie Mackintosh…

1. GSOA attendance


He night-schooled at the Glasgow School Of Art for a decade before leaving to make his mark on the world.

2. Glasgow School Of Art


Charles Rennie Mackintosh wasn’t first pick to design a new GSOA building in 1896, but Francis Newbury headmaster at the GSOA could sense there was something special about Charles Rennie and supported his design application. He was rewarded with one of the most uniquely designed buildings of all time, genuine living art and it stands as one of the most recognisable buildings worldwide to this day.

3. Reputation

Thanks to the considerable amount of quality work Charles Rennie Mackintosh created during his time at the GSOA, the Art School quickly gained a reputation as being one of the leading art academies in Europe for architecture and decorative arts. The GSOA’s reputation is unsurpassed for excellence worldwide.

4. Hands Across The Ocean


Mackintosh during his time in Glasgow found the majority of citizens nonchalant (at best) or contemptuous about his designs and creations, but further abroad in places such as Vienna, Germany and Austria he was lauded as a genius helping to inspire future generations with his Art Nouveau style of artistry. Mackintosh showcased a Mackintosh Room at the Turin International Exhibition, which led to him exhibiting in Moscow and again in Austria.

5. The Spook School


Whilst Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s attended GSOA, along with future wife Margaret Macdonald, her sister Frances Madonald and Mackintosh’s best friend Herbert MacNair, they were known as “The Spook School” because their style of drawing was so individually removed from every other student at the time. The “Four” as they became known, focussed on Celtic, ghostly, haunted imagery described by many as pictures of misty moons and hobgoblins. Unknown to these four individuals at the time but that style would become the worldwide artisticly lauded “Glasgow Style”.

6. Disappointments

charles rennie

Mackintosh applied to redesign and create a new Cathedral for Liverpool but lost out to Giles Gilbert Scott. Scott had designed Waterloo Bridge, Battersea Power Station and had even designed the iconic red telephone box. Scott had also hailed from a family of architects, his dad having previously designed the Albert Memorial in London.

7. The Fire of 2014

glasgow fire

Since the terrible fire of 2014, the values of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s work has skyrocketed. In March prior to the fire a set of chairs sold for £13,200, in July following the fire, relatively similar chairs sold for £36,050. But in December 2014, eight months later, two similar Charles Rennie Mackintosh “ladder back chairs” sold for an incredible £109,250. An increase of £96,ooo + pounds.

8. Abandoned

a glasgow architect

By the time of his death in December 1928, Charles Rennie Mackintosh had abandoned architecture completely, moved to France, devoting himself instead to painting landscapes. Many of these priceless works composed later were lost through the sands of time, but its truly difficult to comprehend, one of Scotland’s greatest heroes, died with nothing.

He died broke on the 28 Dec 1928.