British Museum collections, £12.99
Height: 37.000 cm
Length: 25.200 cm (base)
Width: 13.800 cm (base)
Room 48: Europe 1900 to now
Mantelpiece clock, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Scotland, AD 1919
The Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) created a series of stunningly original buildings and interiors in and around his native city, Glasgow, in the decade between 1896 and 1906, including Glasgow School of Art, Willow Tearooms and Hill House. In these interiors Macktintosh designed every detail of the furniture and furnishings to create a completely harmonious effect.
This mantelpiece clock was created for the guest bedroom of a Victorian house belonging to the industrialist Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke at 78 Derngate, Northampton. The house was remodelled by Mackintosh from 1917 onwards, his last major commission. The room was described by its owner as 'perhaps the most daring in the house', and the clock was designed to complement a dazzling interior, with its blue, black and white striped wallpaper, curtains and bedcovers, and a suite of furniture edged with a chequered pattern.
The clock is made of veneered oak with a black stencilled chequerboard pattern. The clock face is decorated with squares of mother-of-pearl and ivory with wooden numbers. Mackintosh had often used geometric motifs in his furniture, particularly on chair backs, but the pattern on this clock is more dynamic than his earlier designs. The stepped shape of the clock case and the angular numbering look forward the type of styling associated with Art Deco a decade later.
J. Rudoe, Decorative arts 1850-1950: a c, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
A. Crawford, Charles Rennie Mackintosh-2 (London, Thames and Hudson, 1995)
R. Billcliffe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh: the (Guildford, 1979)
W. Kaplan (ed.), Charles Rennie Mackintosh-1 (London, 1996)