CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH (1868-1928)
pencil and watercolour, signed, dated and inscribed lower right CRM/ MMM/ WALBERSWICK/ 1915
24.5cm x 19cm
Estimate £ 10,000-15,000
Literature: Billcliffe, Roger 'Mackintosh Watercolours', 1978, p. 89, cat. no. 136, where a similar example is illustrated
Provenance: Barclay Lennie Fine Art, Glasgow
The Mackintoshes moved to Walberswick in 1914, first of all for a recuperative holiday, but the outbreak of war persuaded them to remain in the village for fifteen months. They first of all stayed next door to the Newberys, who had bought a semi-detached villa in the village about 1900. Mackintosh spent much of his time sketching wild flowers and plants on the coast (an activity which was to contribute to his arrest as a suspected enemy spy in 1915). The belief that the colouring on these drawings was applied by Margaret Mackintosh is countered here by the quality and manner of the watercolour, which is entirely consistent with the many drawings where both his own initials and those of Margaret are included.
Mary Newbery Sturrock, daughter of Francis 'Fra' Newbery (1855-1946), the Headmaster of the Glasgow School of Art at the time Mackintosh designed the new premises in Renfrew Street. Newbery and Mackintosh, and their families, became good friends and Mary Newbery was a frequent visitor to the Mackintoshes' house in Glasgow before they left the city in 1913. Mary was convalescing in Walberswick while the Mackintoshes were staying in the village. She watched Mackintosh making some of his flower drawings and was inspired by them to produce her own studies in later life. In a conversation with Roger Billcliffe she stated that the appearance of Margaret's initials on Mackintosh's flower drawings merely indicated that Margaret was present when the drawing was made, not that she made any contribution to the drawings. There is no stylistic evidence of Margaret adding watercolour to these drawings (the most frequent reason given for the appearance of her initials) that are consistent with Mackintosh's own watercolour technique. Sturrock's theory is supported by the absence of Margaret Mackintosh's initials on some watercolours and the presence of several sets of initials on some drawings, made when Mackintosh was accompanied by friends such as Herbert and Frances MacNair, John Keppie or Charles Macdonald, brother of the Macdonald sisters.
Sold for £15,000 (buyer's premium included)