Over the past 25 years I have been involved with many stencilling projects… Small or large they all taught me something ! A true craft women must do suitable homework to produce a beautiful piece of design. Here are some comments and photographs some of the stencilling recreations I have been involved in. They are not in any particular order. For some of them I had to scan some old photographs which explain the poor qualities of some of the images.
My apologies for that.
Below is a non exhaustive list in no particular order and I am still updating…
The House for an Art Lover was designed in at the turn of the century but only built in Glasgow in the 1990’s with no “in detail” design instructions. For sources we looked at Mackintosh s archival work of the period and picked elements in his realised commissions in Glasgow and around. Some of the roses from the HAL dining room project came from one of his schemes for The Willow Tea rooms, some of the stems from The Hill House together forming a pleasing to the eye design resembling his original watercolour.
The dining room fire place is very iconic and is probably the image that today is the most represented of HAL overall.
Below the Willow tea rooms scheme which inspired the dining room rose pattern.
There was a third scheme in the large hall… A gallery of tall trees a lovely forest which disappeared as painted over before the building was opened. It was based again on one of the Glasgow tea rooms designs this time a scheme from the Argyle street one fully documented in Mackintosh literature.
78, Derngate 1990’s
Mackintosh’ English house designed in the 1920’s for a local industrialist was recreated for the Retrospective exhibition of his work in the Mackelland gallery in Glasgow in the 1990’s and I was commissioned to do it. Around the same time The Mackintosh interpretation Center opened in the Lighthouse and I produced a panel of the Hall/lounge Art Deco frieze for a display cabinet. We were lucky to find much archival work of this scheme in the Hunterian art gallery in the form of coloured designs and stencils. It’s a complicated stencil in several layers. It needs lined up perfectly to give justice to Mackintosh’s striking triangle based geometrical scheme. In the 78, Derngate house in Northampton the scheme has now been recreated by a local artist. Unfortunately an air brush was used for this, giving a fuzzy effect to a design which is supposed to be crisp and a lack of attention to detail has given the top of the border more squares than Mackintosh had designed… A shame ! Although most visitors would not notice the difference and the overall effect is still stunning.
78, Derngate – The centenary celebrations:
In 2017, 78 Derngate’s refurbishment by Mackintosh will be 100 years old and to celebrate the house is throwing a huge party with an exhibition from the 1st February to the 30th of April. Some talks and workshops and some stencilling recreations.
I was commissioned to recreate the 1920 scheme for the Hall Lounge, a scheme that Mackintosh designed for Candida Cottage the small property owned by Bassett Lowkes and a banner designed in 1903 for The Glasgow Willow Tea Rooms. All will be part of the 3 months exhibition in Northampton and details can be found below:
Candida Cottage scheme
George Walton The Deer design : 1993 and 2015
For the 1990’s George Walton travelling exhibition in Glasgow I was commissioned to recreate a deer stencil which once adorned one of Miss Cranston s tea room in Glasgow’s Argyle street. Walton was researched by Karen Moon and the curator of Glasgow Museum at the time Daniel Robbins has been lucky in recording the design before the building was refurbished. Around the very large exhibition room this very elegant galloping deer gradually appeared out of my brushes in pales shades of brown… A stunning design! It was heart breaking when at the end of the exhibition it was taken down … I had the pleasure to recreate this scheme with a variation of colour this time in the master bedroom of Ault Wharrie Walton’s only Scottish property in Dunblane in 2015 and three prints of the deer are also standing in the entrance hall of The Glasgow Guild in Glasgow.
George Walton Ault Wharrie The Rose room 2015/16
This domestic property seems to be the only house Walton built north of the border. Designed in the very first years of the 20th century for a rich client Ault Wharrie was adorned with many stencilled friezes. Time and bad wall treatments damaged in an irreparable manner some of them and I was asked to re create them from the small extracts discovered under layers of paint. The Rose room is a formidable project with a whole ceiling stencilled with a rose bush and trellis scheme for which only a small section was uncovered and a full over the picture rail rose stencilled scheme for which also only a small section was uncovered.
With the ceiling scheme I had to recreate the design (4.5m long) with only about a foot available looking at similar designs in the period literature as next to no archives were available on Ault Wharrie. Both material and techniques for Walton stencilling are described in period literature.
The dining room 2016
For this scheme of sections made of squares we had some very basic tracing of squares exposed and a black and white photograph giving an overall indication of the various sections. The archway was the challenge together with the fact the walls are irregular making the measuring tricky.
The Mackintosh House at the Hunterian Art Galleries – Bedroom textiles, 2005:
The Mackintosh House, a recreation of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald in the West end of Glasgow is located in the ground of the University of Glasgow within the Hunterian Art Galleries. In 2005 during the refurbishment of the master bedroom I was asked to re-create the little curtains which adorn the master bed. Made of linen they are stencilled with a delicate bloom of stylish Glasgow Style roses.
The linen was sourced by the curator in Place Pamela Robertson set to match exactly the original one. Pamela is very rigorous on her search for perfection. This has always been a pleasure when working on recreation with her. There are no compromise and the finished result has to be perfectly authentic. I recut the original stencils fresh out of Oiled Manilla card the modern version of the early 20th century material and used in this instance a combination of fabric/acrylic paint with a strong pigment, this is to make sure it does not fade away rapidly out of the bright light on this top floor room.
The Mackintosh House at the Hunterian Art Galleries – Dining room wall, 2015:
The Mackintosh House dining room, a dark brown room with wall looking like they were lined with kraft paper and a black trellis with roses at the top and silver drops had suffered some substantial damages and I was asked to “Fix” it. This demanded for the perfect match of the original wall colour (source unknown…) and the re-creation of the trellis and drop motif an area of about 4 to 5 square meters but part of a wall so the need to be completely in keeping with the original scheme.
The colour matching proved to be somehow a challenge, the light is poor in that room due to ground floor level and heavy drapes/curtains. During different times of the day the sunlight changes dramatically and affected my tries and errors when trying to emulate the original brown. However it was done, the original motif was traced and cut to be finally executed out of a mix of acrylic and wall paint.