The Artist's Cottage project

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The Artist's Cottage project
General information
Type domestic - An Artist's Cottage and Studio, A Town House for an Artist, Gate Lodge Auchinbothie
Architectural style Scottish Art Nouveau from speculative drawings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1901
Location Farr by Inverness, Scotland
Completed 1992 and 1995
Design and construction
Architect Robert Hamilton Macintyre
Main contractor Peter Tovell

The Artist's Cottage project is the realisation of three previously unexecuted designs by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. In 1901, Mackintosh produced two speculative drawings, An Artist's Cottage and Studio[1] and A Town House for an Artist.[clarification needed] He also drew three preliminary sketches titled, Gate Lodge, Auchinbothie, Kilmalcolm,[2][3][4] and the final drawing for the completed building.[5] Ninety years later the architect Robert Hamilton Macintyre and his client, Peter Tovell, began work on the first of these unrealised domestic designs, The Artist's Cottage, at Farr near Inverness, Scotland.

An Artist's Cottage and Studio

The Artist's Cottage, Farr, Inverness. Front elevation detail showing a vertical chimney stack, left, window ingoe in smooth render, centre, and angle of batter, right. The actual batter is 1.5 degrees but, because of the geometry of inclined planes intersecting, this can increase to 2.5 degrees depending upon the angle of view. The iron balustrade and stanchion marks the south-west corner of the roof terrace.

Known as The Artist's Cottage, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's An Artist's Cottage and Studio was built in the village of Farr by Inverness on an area of land to the south west of Achnabechan. The building consists of a two-storey cube with a single-storey wing enclosing a 'secret' walled garden. Excluding the east wing gable, all external walls have a 1.5 degree batter (incline on the outer face of the built wall). The plan footprint covers 230 square metres accommodating five en-suite bedrooms, a north-lit studio occupying half the first floor, a large roof terrace and public rooms appropriate for the scale of the building. Illustrations can be found on the RCAHMS Canmore site.[6]

With only exterior elevations and floor plans to work from,[1] the interiors were drawn from existing buildings of similar period and scale.[7] The ogee timber plate rack for example, a feature in the entrance vestibule, cloakroom, drawing room, dining hall and studio, was machined to the profile Mackintosh used in Ruchill Church Hall. Exterior elements too, such as the artist blacksmith-work for the studio balcony and roof terrace, were fabricated to Mackintosh's specifications for other buildings, and applied to his elevations of vertical chimney stacks set against battered walls punctured by deeply pierced openings (illus). The sculptural form of the completed building has been compared to some of Mackintosh's contemporary and later drawings and watercolours, such as The Castle, Holy Island, 1901 and Le Fort Maillert, 1927.[8]

Macintyre, acting as 'job architect' for the project, consulted his colleague, Prof Andy MacMillan, for advice on the detailing. Coincidentally, MacMillan was consultant for another Charles Rennie Mackintosh design, The House for an Art Lover (1902), presently under construction at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, a project initiated by Glasgow civil engineer, Graham Roxburgh. Macintyre, who studied at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art (and began his career in the Glasgow offices of Keppie, Henderson and Partners, the successors to Mackintosh's practice), later worked for Gillespie, Kidd and Coia alongside Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein.

The Artist's Cottage was completed in 1992 to some considerable interest, with articles published by the CRM Society,[8] Country Life[9] and others, along with numerous press reports[10] and TV, film and bibliography (see below).

The house has been in continuous use as a private residence, passing from Peter and Maxine Tovell to Mr and Mrs van Kessel in 1999.[11] Throughout the five years following its completion The Artist's Cottage was made freely available to visitors by appointment and, on the solstice nights of 21 June 1996 and 1997, staged public art exhibitions, Midsummer Magic, managed by The Scottish Fine Art Group.[12] These showed the work of Mike Forbes as solo exhibitor in 1996,[13] and a shared exhibition by Suzanne Gyseman and Alexander Berdysheff in 1997.[14][15] Berdysheff's work was a pre-showing of his solo exhibition for the 1997 Edinburgh International Festival held at the Edinburgh College of Art from 10 August of that year.[16][17]

A Town House for an Artist

Following the completion of The Artist's Cottage, Macintyre and Tovell turned their attention to Mackintosh's A Town House for an Artist, teaming up with gallery owner Ken Hardiman of Alder Arts (then of Church Street, Inverness) to form Mackintosh Galleries Ltd (27 March 1992), a Company dedicated to lobbying for the best use of Falcon Square, a derelict area of ground at the heart of Inverness.[18][19] Macintyre, an established campaigner in civic redevelopment projects, proposed the unexecuted 3-storey A Town House for an Artist as centrepiece to an arts, heritage and tourist centre. As a prelude to that, and with Hardiman's expertise, Mackintosh Galleries Ltd set up The Scottish Fine Art Group and began staging regular arts events in the Inverness area.

Despite support,[20][21] discussion,[22] additions and amendments,[23][24][25] the scheme failed to satisfy the planners and others, and the proposals were rejected[26][27][28][29] in favour of a shopping complex.

Gate Lodge, Auchinbothie #1

North House, Farr. West elevation from the B851 road showing the rounded stair tower with feature window above, battered chimney stack, vertical walls and coopered water butt.

In 1995 a pair of gatehouses were built to either side of the Achnabechan and The Artist's Cottage drives at the junction with the B851 highway.[30][31] Known as North House[32] and South House,[33] their design utilised the first of the Gate Lodge, Auchinbothie sketches.[2]

The houses are identical, but mirrored. The front doors of both face due east, yet the round stair tower of one is on the north side, the other on the south.[34][35] In plan, each house is based on a square, a rectangle and a circle rising to two gables with rounded heads and five wall-plate levels.[36] In keeping with the main house, the walls are rendered and wet harled, roofs slate or lead, wall heads rounded, and porches supported on tapered timber posts. The three houses have feature curved windows with projecting low pitched canopies - and coopered water butts (illus). The principal details not shared with the main house are the round stair towers, the absence of dressed masonry to the entrances, and the deliberately contrary vertical walls with battered chimney stacks. The Artist's Cottage has battered walls and vertical stacks. Apart from the novel design of spiral staircase, the interiors are plain. Detached matching garages were added later.[37]

Gate Lodge, Auchinbothie #2

Though Macintyre died suddenly in the autumn of 1997,[38][39] the project was continued with a request to build the second of the unexecuted Gate Lodge, Auchinbothie[3] sketches. To be known as East House,[40] the proposed site lay within 'Nursery Field', once part of the Achnabechan farm. But the application failed to gain lasting consent from the Inverness planning department.[41]

"I just think this is too much of a good thing," one local councillor, and member of the planning committee, was reported to have given as her reason for planning permission to be rescinded.[42] No further applications were lodged.

Television and film productions

The Home Show Series, #2, Alan Douglas, "The Artist's Cottage". STV Scottish Television (Glasgow), broadcast 1995, run time 14min, all sequences.

Designs of the Times series, "Charles Rennie Mackintosh - a modern man". BBC Television (Scotland), broadcast 28 July 1996, run time 45min, intro and end sequences.

DVD "Charles Rennie Mackintosh - a modern man" released 7 June 2010, Beckmann Visual Publishing (Ramsey, Isle of Man).

Geographical references

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX

Bibliography

  • McKean, Charles (1994). Scottish Dimensions, Diary 'January'. R.I.A.S. Publications, Edinburgh.
  • McKean, Charles (1995). A Scottish Modernism 1933–1939. History Workshop Journal, Volume 40, Issue 1, doi:10.1093/hwj/40.1.165
  • Knevitt, Charles (1994). Shelter, p94-5. Polymath Publishing, Streatley-on-Thames. ISBN 1-873224-04-4
  • Wilhide, Elizabeth (1995). The Mackintosh Style, p149 and p152-3. Pavilion Books, London. ISBN 1-86205-121-6
  • Glendinning, MacInnes and MacKechni (1996). A History of Scottish Architecture, Ch9 '1960 to the Present Day', p488. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0748608492

References

  1. ^ a b The Hunterian, The University of Glasgow. Mackintosh Collection, cat no: GLAHA 41142-45.
  2. ^ a b The Hunterian, The University of Glasgow. Mackintosh Collection, cat no: GLAHA 41860.
  3. ^ a b The Hunterian, The University of Glasgow. Mackintosh Collection, cat no: GLAHA 41858.
  4. ^ The Hunterian, The University of Glasgow. Mackintosh Collection, cat no: GLAHA 41859.
  5. ^ The Hunterian, The University of Glasgow. Mackintosh Collection, cat no: GLAHA 41861.
  6. ^ Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), The Artist's Cottage, Canmore ID 82860
  7. ^ Macintyre, Robert Hamilton. An Artist's Cottage and Studio (1990-92), drwg series: TOVL and DTL.
  8. ^ a b Macintyre, Robert Hamilton (Spring 1992). "An Artist's Cottage and Studio". CRM Society Newsletter (Glasgow), No 58, p5-8.
  9. ^ Hall, Michael (26 November 1992). "The Artist's Cottage, Inverness". Country Life (London), p34-37.
  10. ^ Articles and press reports on the completion of The Artist's Cottage from a range of arts and architectural correspondents:
    • Love, Jim (5 May 1992). "Architect's 90-year dream comes true at Strathnairn". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
    • Ogilvie-Laing, Gerald (6 November 1992). "Fatuous arguments". Letters to the editor, The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
    • McKean, Charles (26 April 1993). "New life for a modern masterpiece". The Scotsman (Edinburgh).
    • Pringle, Richard (July 1994). "Mackintosh 'dream' that became a reality". The Scotsman (Edinburgh).
    • Fraser, Douglas (19 July 1994). "Latter-day Mackintosh house for sale". The Scotsman (Edinburgh).
    • "Mackintosh house goes on sale". The Herald (Glasgow). 19 July 1994.
    • "Mackintosh dream home built". The Times (London). 8 August 1994.
    • de Courcy, Anne (13 August 1994). "The dream house that came to life". Daily Mail (London), p36-7.
    • Jarvie, Andrew (1994). "Mackintosh dream house on market". Press and Journal (Aberdeen).
    • Partridge, Chris (3 September 1994). "Property". The Daily Telegraph (London).
    • Cadogan, Gerald (3 September 1994). "Mackintosh lives again". Financial Times (London).
    • Pearman, Hugh (11 September 1994). "Posthumous modern". The Sunday Times (London).
    • Sinclair, Bill (14 September 1994). "The Mackintosh house that Charles Rennie didn't build". The Herald, Scotland's Homes (Glasgow), p1 and 22.
    • Wilcox, Caren (November 1994). 'Living design'. Scottish Field (Edinburgh), p48-9.
    • Gillilan, Lesley (31 December 1994). "Mackintoshes for sale". The Guardian (London).
    • Ross, John (25 April 1996). "How Mackintosh's dream became a modern family home". The Scotsman (Edinburgh), p18.
    • Waddell, Heather (25 May 1996). "New, original Mackintosh". The Times (London).
    • Robertson, Alastair (23 June 1996). "Dusting off old masters". The Sunday Times (London).
    • Bissell, Therese (August 1996). 'Ad at Large'. Architectural Digest (New York), p2.
    • Renshaw, Rosalind (December 1996). 'The Artist's Cottage'. Build It magazine (London), p6-14.
    • 'Piloti' (27 December 1996). "Nooks and Corners". Private Eye (London), No 914.
    • Brown, Beverley (1997). 'The Artist's Cottage and Studio'. Home Magazine (Glasgow), p19-23.
    • Deveney, Catherine (19 January 1997). "Shock of the old". Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh).
    • Shields, Jenny (11 April 1997). "Self-starters home in on the future". The Mail (Scotland).
  11. ^ "An Artist's Cottage and Studio". Bidwells (Perth), particulars. 1999, p1-16.
  12. ^ van Beelan, Sandie (27 June 1996). "Art group plan to show al fresco". Press and Journal (Aberdeen).
  13. ^ Love, Jim (28 June 1996). "Rabbits' heads make Mum's heart sink". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  14. ^ "House of art - Alexander Berdysheff and Suzanne Gyseman". Press and Journal (Aberdeen). 20 June 1997.
  15. ^ Love, Jim (24 June 1997). "Scottish art-lovers with Georgia on their mind". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  16. ^ Macmillan, Duncan (August 1997). "Stock values". The Scotsman (Edinburgh).
  17. ^ Hughes, Ralph (August 1997). "Edinburgh Festival shows". Galleries (London), p16.
  18. ^ Love, Jim (8 May 1992). "An excellent showcase for local artists and national collections?". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  19. ^ Editorial (8 May 1992). "When second is best". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  20. ^ Love, Jim (5 June 1992). "Planners' choice - art or commerce". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  21. ^ Love, Jim (3 July 1992). "Civic Trust backs rival Falcon Square scheme". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  22. ^ Love, Jim (4 August 1992). "Question over town centre shops complex". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  23. ^ Love, Jim (14 August 1992). "Partners unveil radical new plan for town centre". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  24. ^ Love, Jim (14 August 1992). "Mackintosh team unveils its grand design for Inverness town centre redevelopment". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  25. ^ Editorial (14 August 1992). "Station yardstick". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  26. ^ Love, Jim (16 February 1993) "Developers revise Falcon Square plans". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  27. ^ "Arts group on attack over region stance on complex". Press and Journal (Aberdeen). 23 February 1993.
  28. ^ "Decision asked for on Falcon Square scheme". The Inverness Courier (Inverness). 23 February 1993.
  29. ^ Love, Jim (26 February 1993). "Planner hits back over gallery". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  30. ^ Lyon, Ron (2 April 1993). "Gatehouse petition fails to swing planning chief". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  31. ^ Fraser, Elizabeth (9 April 1993). "Houses go-ahead". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  32. ^ Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), North House, Canmore ID 280055
  33. ^ Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), South House, Canmore ID 280056
  34. ^ Dawson, Tim (11 May 1997). "Chip off the old block". The Sunday Times (London).
  35. ^ Dawson, Tim (28 February 1999). "Legacy of a Scots genius". The Sunday Times (London).
  36. ^ Tovell, PWA (19 December 1992). North and South Houses, Farr, drwg: PT/AC/101 amended a,b,c.
  37. ^ Tovell, PWA (27 May 1996). Garage with attached glasshouse for North House and for South House, drwg: PT/HG/1.
  38. ^ van Beelan, Sandie (22 September 1997). "Tributes to leading architect who was devotee of Rennie Mackintosh". Press and Journal (Aberdeen).
  39. ^ Love, Jim (23 September 1997). "Death of Inverness arts venue campaign architect". The Inverness Courier (Inverness).
  40. ^ Tovell, PWA (27 November 1997). East House, a proposed new house for Nursery Field, Achnabechan, Farr, drwg: PT/AC/110.
  41. ^ Proposal to build East House - as reported in the local press:
    • "Move to block another house in acclaimed style". The Inverness Courier (Inverness). 31 March 1998.
    • "Mackintosh house gets green light". The Inverness Courier (Inverness). 7 April 1998.
    • "Mackintosh house to be built". Press and Journal (Aberdeen). 8 April 1998.
    • Fraser, Donald (8 April 1998). "Mackintosh house will be built near Inverness". The Scotsman (Edinburgh).
    • "Go-ahead for Rennie Mackintosh home". The Herald (Glasgow). 8 April 1998.
    • "A house inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh". Planning (Haymarket, London). 17 April 1998.
    • "Further talks on Mackintosh house plan". The Inverness Courier (Inverness). 1 May 1998.
    • "House u-turn". Press and Journal (Aberdeen). 2 May 1998.
    • "Mackintosh house hopes diminish". The Inverness Courier (Inverness). 12 May 1998.
    • "Mackintosh site visit". The Inverness Courier (Inverness). 19 May 1998.
    • "Mackintosh home blocked". The Herald (Glasgow). 2 June 1998.
    • "U-turn in house wrangle". The Inverness Courier (Inverness). 2 June 1998.
    • "Mackintosh-style house bid hits new planning hurdle". Press and Journal (Aberdeen). 2 May 1998.
    • "Mackintosh house could go ahead". Highland News (Inverness). 4 July 1998.
    • "Classic refused". Press and Journal (Aberdeen). 7 July 1998.
    • "Mackintosh home plan is refused". The Inverness Courier (Inverness). 7 July 1998.
  42. ^ Deveney, Catherine (24 May 1998). "Designer goes round houses - stop-start home saga". Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh).

External links

  • Architectural designs in The Hunterian's Mackintosh online catalogue, and see references 1 to 5 for specific designs
  • Robert Hamilton Macintyre, architect
  • Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS Canmore), and follow links to The Artist's Cottage, Achnabechan, Falcon Square, North House and South House
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, Queen's Cross Church, Glasgow
  • Mike Forbes, artist
  • Suzanne Gyseman, artist
  • Alexander Berdysheff, artist
  • Alder Arts, Beauly, Inverness-shire
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