Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh
1864 – 1933
Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh is widely acknowledged as one of the most gifted and successful women artists in Scotland.
Her work was wide-ranging and included watercolours, graphics, metalwork and textiles. Critics view her greatest achievements to be her gesso works, a plaster-based medium, which she used to make decorative panels for furniture and interiors.
Her design work became one of the defining features of the Glasgow Style during the 1890s - 1900s.
Born in the English Midlands, Margaret moved to Glasgow in 1980 when her family relocated following her Scottish father’s retirement.
Margaret and her sister Frances became students at the Glasgow School of Art where they met and formed a partnership with J Herbert McNair and Charles Rennie Mackintosh who later became their respective husbands.
Margaret played an important part in the designs for projects such as House for an Art Lover in 1900, and Kate Cranston's Willow Tea Rooms which opened in 1903. Many of the interiors she strongly influenced are on view today in the Mackintosh Gallery at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. She also strongly influenced the interior design of one of Mackintosh's most famous domestic commissions, Hill House in Helensburgh, where a number of her works can be seen.
Collaboration was key to Margaret Macdonald’s creativity and she achieved her best work first with her sister Frances at a Glasgow studio that they set up themselves and later with her husband.
While Charles Rennie Mackintosh is a name known to almost every Scot, Margaret’s work and fame is not as widely known.
In choosing to showcase this accomplished artist, we hope to echo her husband’s opinion as he once stated, “"Margaret has genius, I have only talent."
The largest single holding of her work is housed at the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow and more of her work can be viewed at the Mackintosh Gallery at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.