Buxted Willow Herb by Charles Rennie-Mackintosh

‘Let every artist strive to make his flower a beautiful living thing, something that will convince the world that there may be, there are, things more precious, more beautiful, more lasting than life itself.’

This is a quotation from a Mackintosh lecture in 1902. Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) architect, designer and artist, is celebrated around the world as one of the most significant talents from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s. Most of his surviving work can be found in or around Glasgow and at the CRM Society.

In June 1913, Mackintosh’s partnership with Honeyman Keppie dissolved owing to lack of work, but also as a result of increasing disagreement with his fellow partners. He and his wife moved to Suffolk which is where Mackintosh produced some of his finest pencil and watercolour paintings of flowers. Not only were they exquisitely drawn, but they were also botanically accurate.

The Mackintoshs moved to Chelsea soon afterwards, where his flower paintings developed in the form of still life compositions. Mackintosh became a successful freelance textile designer.