The Glasgow School of Art was Charles Rennie Mackintosh's last major architectural project and after this less work came his way. In 1913, he left the partnership of Honeyman, Keppie and Mackintosh to set up on his own. It was a lean time for him and just before the First World War in 1914, the Mackintoshes left Glasgow. They never went back.
On leaving Glasgow, they went to live in the artists' colony of Walberswick in Suffolk, later settling in London. Throughout his life Mackintosh had always sketched and painted flowers. Inspired by wild and garden flowers in Walberswick he made over forty exquisite flower studies. It is clear from his words that these held great meaning for him. He said,
Let every artist strive to make his flower a beautiful living thing, something that will convince the world that there may be, there are, things more precious more beautiful - more lasting than life itself.
After moving to London in 1915, Mackintosh continued to paint flowers, focusing on complex compositions in watercolour, exhibiting a few at international exhibitions in America. This lovely watercolour of 'pinks', dated 1923 captures the range of colours of the flowers perfectly. Notice how he has painted the jagged edges of the petals in precise detail. The natural arrangement of the flowers contrasts with the rectangular grey ceramic vase and the blue glass beaker balances the composition.