Charles Rennie Mackintosh
1897. Oak and silk, 54 3/8 x 20 x 18" (138.1 x 50.8 x 45.7 cm), seat h. 17" (43.2 cm)
The side chair, designed in 1897 by the artist, architect, and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, which emphasized natural, organic forms. A side chair is armless and is often used at a dining table. Mackintosh designed this chair for one of his patrons, Catherine Cranston, whose family sold tea. From 1900 to 1912 she commissioned Mackintosh to design the layout and furniture for her tearooms. The Side Chair was intended to be one of several chairs placed around a table in the center of the room. By creating a high-backed chair, Mackintosh hoped to create a smaller, intimate environment for those seated at the table.
Art and Nature
The side chair features a soaring bird carved out of the large oval plaque at the top of the chair.
In 1878, Catherine Cranston opened her first tearoom, the Crown Luncheon Room, on Argyle Street in Glasgow. Her concept was so successful that she went on to open others in Scotland, and her standard set a precedent for all other tearooms in Great Britain.