78 Derngate a centenary celebration – The 1920’s Hall Lounge recreation

At number 78 Derngate in Northampton there is a small house which is celebrating this year the 100th anniversary of its refurbishment by a very famous architect. Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

I had the great privilege to work with the exhibition team and my role was to recreate two of the heritage stencilled scheme… Not seen for many years they are bright and bold again welcoming the exhibition visitor adorning the original furniture …

I have created a stencil available on My Etsy shop from this border. Its a simplified yet striking border, very much an Art Deco border. Its stunning.


I will be running one day stencilling workshops in Northampton during the  Centenary exhibition on the 29th of April. If you would like to take part please contact 78, Derngate to book see here .

In 1917 its owner Mr Bassett Lowkes commissioned Charles Rennie Mackintosh a young promising architect to refurbish his newly bought house before moving in with his young bride. The scheme was daring and exciting…. Today 78, Derngate is ran as a charity and opened to the public. The original scheme was refurbished in the early 2000 and an exhibition of Bassett Lowkes’s entrepreneurial life is there to inform the public about local life.

Centenary celebration is on between 1st February till the end of April 2017. An exhibition about Mackintosh’s work, Talks about the refurbishment of the house, stencilling workshop, talks about stencilling recreation.

I had the great pleasure to be involved in the making of the celebrations. Recreating two of the original schemes was a great pleasure and I am looking forward to see the scheme in situ next week. I hope you will have the chance to visit the exhibition while it is on. But in case you don’t here are some images of the work I did there.

In 1917 the house was fitted with a very striking scheme of bright triangles and squares on a black background very ahead of its time. Story tells that Bassett Lowkes was colour blind and Mackintosh in an experimental phase.

However only a few years later, a new design slightly calmed down replaced it. Very geometrical still but on a  pale grey background it was designed again by Mackintosh. With the recreation of the  1920 Hall Lounge  the centenary exhibition will give visitors the unique opportunity to see what Mackintosh designed in the 1920’s for Basset Lowkes.

Key to a good recreation is the quality of the archival elements available. In the case of the 1920 scheme there was a plethora of sketches by Mackintosh’s hand available in the archives of the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow, in the RIBA in London as well as being fully documented with black and white photographs, an period article as well as being fully documented in Roger Billcliffe’s “The Complete Furniture, furniture drawing and interior design”.

A copy of the original stencil plates were available to view in the RIBA, and finally photos of the scheme on the wall discovered about 15 years ago gave a good clue about colours.

After 6 months of research, and 50 hours of work to prepare the stencils I travelled to Northampton on the 10th of January to stencil it again on panels in 78 Derngate using household paint. Each panel takes 9 stencil plates, careful lining of each plate takes time and careful planing.

The stencilled panels are being used to display original furniture from 78, Derngate. I hope you get to see the exhibition.

Best wishes.


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

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