Rare Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair created for art school library to be auctioned off

One of the few surviving chairs Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed for Glasgow School of Art's library is set to come up for auction.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 7:00 am
Charles Rennie Mackintosh based the design of his library chair on the ones he created for the 'Dutch Kitchen' area of Miss Cranston's tearoom on Argyle Street. Picture: Gilberto Martinez
Charles Rennie Mackintosh based the design of his library chair on the ones he created for the 'Dutch Kitchen' area of Miss Cranston's tearoom on Argyle Street. Picture: Gilberto Martinez

The piece of furniture, which was previously salvaged from a skip, is expected to fetch up to £3000 when it comes under the hammer at Bonhams auction house in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

The vast majority of the original chairs Mackintosh designed for the library in 1910, the year after the art school building opened, had to be replaced because they proved too flimsy or “delicate” for students to use regularly.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The architect had based the design on the chairs he created for the “Dutch Kitchen” at Miss Cranston’s Tearoom on Argyle Street.

Significant interest is expected in the chair coming up for auction due to the complete loss of the historic library in the devastating fire at the art school, which was widely regarded as one of Glasgow’s finest historic buildings, in 2014.

A multi-million pound restoration of the Mackintosh Building and its iconic library was underway when it was struck by another fire in June 2018. More than 120 firefighters worked to contain and extinguish the blaze, which spread to the O2 ABC live music venue and several other properties in the area.

The chair in question was believed to have been salvaged and restored by Joe Adams, a member of staff at the art school, whose family has now decided to put it up for sale.

Kenneth Naples, furniture specialist at Bonhams, said the chair featured “steel reinforcing rods” which were added to the furniture before they were completely withdrawn from use and replaced with a more “durable” model in the 1950s.

He added: “This example was rescued from a skip at the Glasgow School of Art which was used to feed the heating furnace in the Haldane building.

“With the permission of Harry Barnes, director of the Glasgow School of Art from 1964-1980, the vendor's father Joe Adams restored this chair but stopped short of a cosmetic restoration.

"In view of the recent tragic fires at Glasgow School of Art it is presumably one of very few library chairs still in existence.”

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.