Stephanie De Roemer assessing The May Queen.
Glasgow Museums will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Glasgow born architect, designer and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh with an extensive programme of events throughout 2018. One highlight will be a significant temporary exhibition, hosted at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
It will showcase works by and relating to Mackintosh and his Glasgow Style contemporaries, many of which come from Glasgow Museums’ internationally important collection and will be on display for the first time in a generation, with others making their debut public appearance.
While the exhibition will span the lifetime of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), it will feature work by many of his contemporaries including some works by The Four: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his future wife Margaret Macdonald, her younger sister Frances Macdonald and her future husband James Herbert McNair.
Conservator with Glasgow Museums Stephanie de Roemer removed one of Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh’s most famous gesso works, The May Queen from display (on Tuesday 2 May) to complete initial assessments in preparation for potential inclusion in the 2018 exhibition.
The May Queen has hung in the Glasgow Style gallery in Kelvingrove Museum since it reopened after refurbishment in 2006. The large gesso panel, over 4.5 meters in length and made in three parts, shows the pagan festival of the crowning of the May Queen. It was designed and made in 1900 for The Ladies’ Luncheon Room at Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street Tearooms, part of which is displayed adjacently in the gallery.
Curator with Glasgow Museums, Alison Brown, said: “Charles Rennie Mackintosh is rightly celebrated around the world as one of the most creative figures of the 20th century. He is regarded as the father of Glasgow Style, arguably Britain’s most important contribution to the international Art Nouveau movement. As we approach this significant anniversary I am thrilled Glasgow Museums will join in a city-wide celebration with an exhibition commemorating one of their most famous sons.”
Head of Glasgow Museums, Duncan Dornan, added: “Glasgow is Scotland’s cultural powerhouse, a position that is as relative today as it was over 100 years ago when Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries created Glasgow Style, which remains instantly recognisable and continues to permeate the designs of many different things we see today. His contribution to cultural life in Scotland cannot be understated. It is fitting therefore that we are planning to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth with an exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum.”
Glasgow Style is the designation given to the design and decorative arts centred around the work by teachers, students and graduates of The Glasgow School of Art, produced between about 1890 and 1920. At the core of this movement is the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald, Frances Macdonald and James Herbert McNair.
A Museums Galleries Scotland grant has enabled Glasgow Museums to recruit an Assistant Curator to assist in the development and delivery of the exhibition and in conjunction with the wider Charles Rennie Mackintosh programme.