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Charles Rennie Mackintosh Making the Glasgow Style Exhibition Tour

Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style

The exhibition Charles Rennie Mackintosh Making the Glasgow Style, devised as Glasgow’s flagship event for 2018 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the celebrated architect, designer and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is now on tour in the USA. It’s acclaimed first showing was at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum between 30 March and 14 August 2018 and revised for its subsequent presentation at The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool between 15 March and 26 August 2019.

It is now resuming a four-venue tour of the United States of America, retitled and refined as Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style, a touring exhibition co-organized by Glasgow Museums and the American Federation of Arts. This is the first-ever exhibition in the United States to contextualize Mackintosh’s seminal work – architecture, design and art – in relation to the broader yet intimately connected Glasgow Style circle of designers, architects, and craftspeople with which he shared sources, inspiration, ideas, motifs, and patrons.

After a tremendous first-venue run at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland between 6 Oct 2019 and 5 Jan 2020, the US tour resumed in June 2021 following the original schedule’s sudden halt in Spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.


You can now see the exhibition at the following venues:


Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee: 11 June–12 Sept 2021

Link to venue:

Link to exhibition:


Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque: 30 Oct 2021–23 Jan 2022

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The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, St. Petersburg, Florida: 11 March–5 June 2022 (Dates tbc)

Link to venue: The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement

The touring exhibition Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style includes 166 remarkable works of art and design, the majority of which will be on public display for the first time in North America. Characterized by taut lines, stylized natural forms, sleek curves, and emphatic geometries, the Glasgow Style was unique – the only British response to the international Art Nouveau movement of the late 1890s – 1900s.

The first Mackintosh retrospective to tour the United States in a generation, Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style introduces audiences to some of the architect-designer-artist’s most iconic works.  It presents his big, bold graphic designs for posters and his high-backed chairs for Miss Catherine Cranston’s famous Glasgow city-centre artistic tearooms, in contrast with his lesser-known but equally striking experiments in textile design, interior design and the intricate watercolours he painted in the last years of his life. Offering a unique and expanded dialogue about Mackintosh’s milieu, this exhibition highlights the connections between Mackintosh, his predecessors, contemporaries, collaborators, patrons, kindred spirits, and his hometown city of Glasgow – industrial heartland of nineteenth-century Scotland. Their distinctive variant of Art Nouveau was embraced by the Glasgow School of Art and centred around its Technical Art Studios, whose full spectrum of media work displayed in the exhibition includes books, ceramics, stained glass, glass, mosaic, metalwork, furniture, textiles, stencilling, needlework, posters, interior and architectural design.

This ground-breaking showcase unpacks themes such as the international influences upon Mackintosh’s work, the Glasgow School of Art’s crucial support and encouragement of women designers at a time of great social change, and the physical processes involved in making the visionary interiors, furnishings, and decorative works of art and design that together present and define the imaginative breadth of the Glasgow Style.

Works included in the exhibition are drawn from the very best of Glasgow Museum’s internationally renowned civic collections and those of Glasgow City Archives and Mitchell Library Special Collections, alongside key pieces from The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, The Glasgow School of Art, and important loans from private collections.


A new fully-illustrated hardback publication Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style, published by DelMonico Books – Prestel, accompanies the US exhibition tour; including essays and a complete catalogue of all works touring the states. 


Accompanying online programme

Conversations with a Curator – Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style

On Thursday, June 3, the American Federation of Arts was pleased to present a conversation with Alison Brown, curator of Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style.

In this behind the scenes look at Designing the New, AFA Director of Curatorial Affairs, Andrew Eschelbacher, joins Alison Brown to investigate the importance of Glasgow as the crucible for the creation of its distinctive version of Art Nouveau, as well as the rich mosaic of artists, artisans, architects and designers who worked alongside Mackintosh as he was creating his vibrant aesthetic.

Curator’s Perspective: Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Cutting-Edge Tearoom Designs

On Friday 11th June, the day Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style opened in Nashville, Tennesse, Frist Art Museum presented an online lecture by Alison Brown - curator of European Decorative Art and Design at Glasgow Museums, and curator of the exhibition – looking at Mackintosh’s tearoom designs for Catherine Cranston.

Over a 21-year period, between 1896 and 1917, the architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh created some of his most imaginative interiors and decorative schemes for Catherine Cranston’s four tearooms in central Glasgow. These commissions provided him with crucial opportunities to experiment with an increasingly sophisticated approach to interiors, furniture, and fittings, from mysterious murals inspired by Art Nouveau and Japan and iconic high-backed chairs to atmospheric dining spaces with palettes ranging from white-and-silver to warm stained wood, along with Chinese-influenced designs and boldly colourful geometry that anticipated the rhythm of Art Deco. His most three-dimensionally conceptual suite, for the Willow Tearooms (1903), achieved a new level of fashioning an interior as a total work of art. This illustrated talk presents Mackintosh’s unique collaborations with Catherine Cranston through archive and object photographs, with behind-the-scenes insights from Glasgow Museums’ conservation, reassembly, and restoration of some of his surviving tearoom interiors from Ingram Street.