Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm
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Charles Rennie Mackintosh Discovery Lecture Day

6 May 2021

This tour is currently sold out, but if you'd like to register your interest we can put you on a wait list in case we have any cancellations. Just fill in your details below and we will contact you if a place becomes available.
All great and living architecture has been the direct expression of the needs and beliefs of man at the time of its creation. [Mackintosh]
The Glasgow School of Art is often described as Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece: the fullest expression of his innovative, distinctive and very personal style. Yet at the beginning of the project he was 29 years old, working as a junior draughtsman at the architectural firm of Honeyman and Keppie; the designs he produced for the building were his first attempt at anything on such a monumental scale. Shortage of funds meant that the building was completed in stages: by the time the second phase was completed Mackintosh was over 40, disillusioned and depressed by constant struggles to realise his ambitious (and usually expensive) projects to their full potential. Yet the building itself, from its spectacular frontages to its lovingly-designed details, embodied an excellence in design and craftsmanship that transcended the efforts and arguments that went into its making. Four years after completing the masterly western extension to the Art School Mackintosh left Honeywell and Keppie to start his own practise. The venture failed within the year; he left Glasgow and effectively gave up architecture in favour of painting and design, moving restlessly between England and the South of France until his death. Thus the Glasgow School of Art can truly be said to mark the beginning and the end of the short but brilliant career of an architect of outstanding powers and rare vision. Eclectic, timeless and unique, it stood for over 100 years as a monument to the architect who built it and a landmark in the city he loved. Tragically, in the space of four years it was first damaged and then nearly destroyed by two major fires. Today it is a ruined shadow of its former glory, and the arguments over what happens next continue. Nobody can know what Mackintosh himself would have done, faced with someone else’s building in the same state. But that it would have been something extraordinary there is no doubt. This day school introduces the man and his masterpiece, explores the uniqueness of both, and considers the legacy of the one and the future of the other.


Our Discovery Lecture Days explore a wide spectrum of art and cultural historical themes, led by popular Art Pursuits Expert Lecturers. Whether you are looking to build on existing knowledge or discover something new, our lecture days offer you the opportunity to learn from our experts in the convivial company of likeminded enthusiasts. The exciting range on offer includes themes from the Pillars of Power in Mediaeval Germany, led by Dr Ulrike Ziegler and Dr Sally Dormer to Faith, Art & Empire of Spain’s Golden Age with Isabelle Kent. Each day includes a series of lectures and the opportunity to consort with our experts and friends. Our Lecture Days will be held on Zoom and are priced at £75 per person.