'The Hill House', watercolour painting

About this object

Talwin Morris was a close friend of Mackintosh, McNair and the Macdonald sisters and was even described on one occasion as “the fifth member of The Four”. He worked as Art Director for Glasgow publishing company Blackie and Son, establishing a clear brand identity by using the minimalist 'Glasgow Style' on the covers of the firm's books. You can see some of these on display in this section of the exhibition.

Morris recommended Charles Rennie Mackintosh as an architect to his employer Walter Blackie. In 1902, the publisher gave the young architect one of his most important commissions: to design the house you see in this framed watercolour painting by Morris. It is called The Hill House and still stands today in Helensburgh, twenty five miles north-west of Glasgow overlooking the river Clyde. Morris may have created this picture of The Hill House as a house-warming gift for Blackie, whose family lived there until 1982.

Mackintosh had spent a lot of time with the Blackie family, to make sure he understood what they wanted in their new home. He designed the interior first and the room layouts influenced the design of the outside of the house. For some rooms, he created complete interiors as works of art, collaborating with his wife Margaret, who contributed embroideries and a decorative wall panel. The hall and library are very masculine spaces, with strong geometric lines and dark wood. In contrast, the drawing room and master bedroom are examples of the 'white' rooms for which Mackintosh became famous.
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