About this artwork

This revolving bookcase was made for Hous'hill, a large nineteenth-century house at Nitshill in Glasgow. The house belonged to Miss Catherine Cranston, who had earlier commissioned Mackintosh to design a series of tea rooms in Glasgow, including the famous Willow Tea Rooms which opened in 1904. This is Mackintosh's only revolving bookcase and was destined for the drawing room at Hous'hill. The design is based on an organic principle, with the vertical divisions representing the boughs and branches of a tree which multiply at each shelf, ending in little painted squares which suggest blossom or leaves.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Glasgow-born Mackintosh is a major figure in the art nouveau movement. One of the most original and influential artists of his time, his instantly recognisable style avoided the floral ornament often associated with that movement. Primarily known as an architect (his greatest achievement is the Glasgow School of Art building), he was concerned with aspects of interior design and also painted watercolours. Mackintosh was well respected, above all on the Continent, for his innovation. He was a vocal critic of the dominant architectural style of his time, when buildings were frequently made to imitate the architecture of the past.