Visit Northampton for a piece of Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Throughout the history of architecture very few working in the field have achieved outside of the building community. One architect who certainly has managed to achieve this crossover is the famous Scots designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His distinctive style shone through in his building design, as well as in his many other exceptional artistic creations. He created an aesthetic that is now instantly recognisable and highly sought after.
If you’re already a devotee of the Scottish designer’s inimitable style, or would like to learn something of his life and work then our guide is packed with interesting information. We’ll look at the fascinating life of the man behind the designs, and give you some advice on where you can see some of his greatest works.
The life and legacy of a design legend
He became the iconic Scottish designer whose wildly popular and instantly recognisable style is still a favourite of millions around the world. However, the early life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh was far from the celebrated upbringing that you might have expected.
Mackintosh was born in Glasgow in 1868, the fourth in a family of twelve children. He began school at Alan Glen’s Institution, a vocational institute which aimed to train up a new generation of skilled workers and tradesmen.
A year later in 1884 Mackintosh embarked on a five year traineeship with architects John Hutchins, before entering the employment of the more prestigious firm Honeyman & Keppie where he received further training in the field.
The foundations were laid but Mackintosh still had a lot of learning to do as he worked hard to reveal his own signature style. He formed friendships with other significant architects working at the time, widened his interests to art and fine design, and travelled to Italy to gain a feeling for the grand history of continental styles.
Then, in 1896, the firm that Mackintosh worked for won a bid to design a new building for Glasgow College of Art – with the young architect being brought on as the designer. It was the commission that made Mackintosh’s name in the design world, bringing his style ideas to maturation and realising them in a building which captured the unique blend of romanticism and modernity that had developed in the young designer.
It marked the start of a long and fruitful career in which Mackintosh’s style worked its way into more than just architecture. The elegant lines and Celtic curves that are so typical of his work can now be found in a range of places, from furniture to jewellery. By the time Mackintosh passed away in 1928, his work was already enormously popular and it is arguably even more so now.
But what if you want to see the work of Mackintosh in the city of Northampton? We’ve picked out one of the best examples of his work you can find. It is a building which was recently restored to its former glory and now acts as an homage to the vision and talents of the great designer.
A historic house in Northampton
In the heart of the attractive city of Northampton you’ll find 78 Derngate, one of the most striking examples of Mackintosh’s design. The whole building is a striking masterwork of design which in 2004 underwent a painstaking process of restoration after years of neglect.
The building has a strong sense of historical significance for fans of Mackintosh’s designs. It is the only domestic commission that the architect took on outside of Scotland so is an important place in the portfolio of work that he built up throughout his life. And following the renovation of the property, it is now a favourite with tourists.
In fact the building won an ‘Enjoy England’ award for excellence in 2009. Having a look at what the property has to offer and you’ll quickly see just why the attraction is so successful. Every detail of the original design of the house has been returned to its original state, creating a remarkable sense of Mackintosh’s style which envelops the senses of visitors.
For devotees of Charles Rennie Mackintosh 78 Derngate is the jewel in the crown of Northampton but it is not the only reason to visit the attractive town. From stately homes to great shopping, there are plenty of supplementary activities you can enjoy during your stay.
And when it comes to hotels and accommodation, Northampton is also very well catered for. If you’re looking for an excellent hotel in Northampton to use as a base for your trip then our Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Northampton can offer a friendly welcome and a high level of service.
Even though it might be Mackintosh that draws you to Northampton, enjoying the many other attractions in the town can make your trip extra special.