The Big Banner project, an art project #crmackintoshbanner2017

2017 #Thebigbanner

If you need further information about the #thebigbannerproject email me @

If you want to read the diary I keep during the run up to the project click here

Here you can view the program of the Mackintosh Festival 2017

During the Mackintosh Festival in Glasgow, I will be running a number of Free drop in “Banner making” events , you dont need bookings for those… just turn up ! There you will be able to have a go at stencilling while make a small contribution to the making of a communal banner

26th September – private event @ The Mack Club Helensburgh with the pupils from Hermitage Academy

1st October 12.30 to 4.30 @Dysart St Clair Church in Fife (suitable for families) read about it here

7th October 11 to 4pm @ The Lighthouse in Glasgow

17th October 12 to 4pm @ Scotland Street School Museums

18th October 11.30 to 4pm @ Kelvingrove Museum

19th October 12.00 to 4pm @ The Hunterian in Kelvinhall

28th October 11.30 to 4pm @ Kelvingrove Museum

I will be running two paid workshops where you will learn out to design a stencil and stencil it to a tote bag. (Cost £25.00 for day with tea and coffee).

14th October 12 to 4pm @ Kelvingrove-Museum (Book here)

22nd October 12 to 4pm @ Scotland Street school Museum (Book Here)

2016 #thebigrose

2016 saw  #thebigroseproject ! For celebrating the 20th anniversary of  The House for an Art Lover I outreached to “people” anyone from anywhere to stencil a bright pink Mackintosh outdoors. It was much fun and so accelerating to see tens of participants take to the ground with a large stencil and a brush…

The Big Rose it all started here

This year will be as exciting with my Big Banner project ! It is based on a linen banner I found in the archives of the Glasgow based Hunterian Art Galleries, It was designed by Mackintosh, its over a 100 years old and it is stunning, a tall elegant lady head in a bunch of roses on a silver background… designed for The Willow Tea rooms which off course is in full refurbishment this year having been rescued by The Willow Tea Rooms Trust  and in the hands of a Trust and a team of experts to be reopened next year for the big 2018 celebration to everything #Mackintosh.

I have enlisted a good number of Glasgow Mackintosh  venues in Glasgow and elsewhere to take part, together we will outreach to the public once again to recreate banners. Many banners… using stencilling, recycling, mixed media and others… I will run workshops like the one for the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum but also some drops in days… Free events where you can just have a go during the month of October 2017.

SO KEEP IN TOUCH IF YOU ARE INTERESTED… send me an email if you would like to take part… or volunteer for it @  The project will take place in October 2017 for the Mackintosh Festival but before hand much work has to be done and there are ways to get involved….

But before that… read all about how I connected with this beautiful objet…

In 1903 Glasgow, a lady entrepreneur Miss Kate Cranston commissioned a young promising architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh with the refurbishment of her new tea room in Sauchiehall Street… The Willow Tea Rooms. He was to refurbish it to a hight standard with themed rooms. It was a success… The ground floor back room was called “The Back Saloon”.  For it, Mackintosh designed sets of stencilled “banners” … They were linen inserts in the wooden paneling. On each panel, a tall elongated lady on a silver background, her head in large bushy roses. In each panels ladies were facing one another.

Four of those panels together with some black and while photographs are in the archives of The Hunterian Art Gallery I have been researching them over a long period of time. Their history, their making, the technique used, the design, material… They are of great beauty, delicate features of the faces, soft shades of the roses.

I have had the great privilege to work on the recreation of one of those panels recently for display at the Centenary exhibition of 78, Derngate the property Charles Rennie Mackintosh refurbished in 1917 in Northampton, showing the process of recreation to the public I made two panels showing different stages in the process. I used for the test panels  linen fabric and hand stencilling as the original shows. I worked to the highest standard of recreation. I  researched extensively before deciding on which method and which paint to use. I used period painting and decorating manuals which would have been available when Mackintosh created this piece. Those are the photos of my very first sample. Hand cut stencil of oiled manilla card… a mix of paint but mainly acrylic (instead of the oil used at the turn of the century), beautiful full quality of Linen fabric. completely done by hand including the stencil cutting.

To recreate the stencil, I used a tracing of the original on tracing paper before transferring on oiled manilla card and hand cutting it.


I tried a good number of paints on linen to check on technique and aspect… will the paint cover the fibres of the fabric? is the colour matching the original? Will it be colour fast? Does the colour run? Is it flat or shady.


A small video shows how I used natural pigments mixed with an acrylic medium to recreate the rose petals. Photographs of the original banners are not of a high quality enough to show the original colour and shading but give an indication. Out of the 4 original panels in the archives of the Hunterian each of the 8 figures shows different shades of pink. A decision will have to be made before the panels are recreated for the Willow Tea-rooms.

The result is a cluster of roses with delicate shades of pink and a lovely shading creating by the pigment mixing with the medium. Painters manuals from the period shows this medium being used for stencilling on fabric.

Time to unveil the result and by peeling up the stencil you access the beautiful cluster of roses for that willow tea room banner

Only a delicate face is missing for the lady to be complete but this is another project, the drawing of the faces will only appear once I am completely happy with the rest of the banner. But this will be for another day.

These samples of the banner were displayed at 78, Derngate within the Centenary exhibition until the 29th April 2017.

Best wishes…

Betty xx

(all photos in this article are copyright The Lansdowne House of Stencils 2017)


Published by bettysbeautifullife

I am a Christie's trained artist born in France but living in Glasgow. I work with Eco Techniques like Natural dyes, Eco Printing and Indigo dyeing using recycled material. I learn, teach and share my techniques, I work with communities and travel to Asia

7 thoughts on “The Big Banner project, an art project #crmackintoshbanner2017

  1. Dear Elizabeth

    I have always admired your stencil work,and I particularly love the new tea room banner. Will these be for sale from yourself,I would love to buy one if they are.
    I am an avid fan of Mackintosh and have other banners and would love one for my collection.
    Many thanks
    John Tillyard.


    1. Hello John,
      Thank you so very much for your kind commentsI am glad you like the banner. At this stage I am still working on this project. But I am sure once it is finalised it should be possible to made a small edition for Mackintosh lovers. If you want to send me your details by email on I will contact you to let you know when anything is ready it should be a little while. Did you see my postings about #thebigrose project last autumn? I am planning a #thebigbanner project for this coming autumn that should be a lot of fun and I want to use this Willow Tea room banner as an inspiration. Keep well and let me have an email adress for you so I can keep you posted.
      Best wishes.


  2. Hi Betty, this lady always reminds me of a Japanese lady on an old print I once saw in Japan. Don’t remember the maker unfortunately. But I am sure Mackintosh was influenced by some Japanese print here… What do you think?


    1. Yes I know what you mean, I believe there was a lot of japanese influence in Glasgow at the period Mackintosh was alive and working. It is seen in a lot of the work of The Glasgow Boys.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: