CR Mackintosh Architect

Charles Rennie Mackintosh : Architect, artist, icon

“I cannot recall any previous account which presents so effectively the real enigma of Mackintosh” The Architects’ Journal
‘Book of the Year’ The Architects’ Journal 2001

A major biography (2000; second ed 2001)


Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Architect, artist, icon (2000, 2nd ed 2001)

Lomond Books, Edinburgh, Voyageur Press, MN, USA

Best Seller List, No 5 in ‘Art Books’The Guardian, Saturday 25 November 2000; The Observer, 26 November 2000

“Book of the year”, one of 20 books chosen as Books of the Year by The Architects’ Journal, 20/27 December  2001

“Professor McKean has achieved this task [to weave his personality together] with an enviable fluency . … The portrait has been completed with a sure hand. … Professor McKean has gone a long way to forging a link with Mackintosh’s personality…”

High Macdonald, literary editor, The Herald (Glasgow) 13.10.00

“this magnificent book” … “really beautiful, very informative and magical pictures”

John Fitzsimmons. The Greetings Programme, BBC Radio Scotland 22.10.00

“This important new book. … Uniquely written as a series of episodes, it offers a fresh overview of his troubled life and many-faceted genius.” Clydebank Post, 26.10.00

“An interesting new book illuminating the architecture of the Edwardian years and exploring the creative, if ultimately doomed, legacy of Ruskin, Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement. There is much sympathy here for the difficult artist who blew it… and there are new insights here.   One novel interpretation has already generated controversy – the notion that perhaps Mackintosh’s increasingly morose introspectiveness was not so much owing to alcohol but to Aspergers Syndrome – an interesting thought if a tendentious one in attempting a diagnosis in an adult who died over 70 years ago.

Gavin Stamp, The Twentieth Century Society Newsletter, January 2001

“This is a generous book, well illustrated and beautifully written.  The photography is up-to-date, painstaking, and complements a romantic, atmospheric, textual approach: illustrator and writer work together like songwriter and lyricist.

Professor McKean’s eloquent text is perceptive, intuitive, almost poetic in places.  There is also an heroic attempt through personal reminiscences and acute observations to unravel the many complex relationships that surround Mackintosh’s life both private and personal.   This intuitive approach certainly affords insights into many troubling areas of the artist’s career.

This well-crafted edifice … it certainly adds flashes of insight and understanding.   As to solving the eternal enigma, perhaps that is too big a task to deal with in retrospect.  There will not, however, be many more eloquent or more comprehensively illustrated attempts.

Anne Ellis, National Trust Curator, The Hill House, CRM Society Newsletter   March 2001

“Competitively priced, it might appear as yet another assemblage of pretty pictures designed to appeal to the general reader.   It is, in fact, something more.

Firstly, the book is extremely well-written, with a vivid immediacy – witness the effective use of the present tense in accounts of Mackintosh’s doings – which brings to life the drama of his career.

Secondly, the author does not attempt a summary of life and works, but rather highlights a series of key events and issues which help us better to understand this enigmatic Glaswegian genius.

I cannot recall any previous account which presents so effectively the real enigma of Mackintosh.

Kenneth Powell, part of long review in The Architects’ Journal, 5 April 2001 p 58

News coverage on publication includes:

Author’s interview with Brian Morton, The Arts Programme, BBC Radio Scotland, 11.10.00; Discussion  by Mark Lawson, Front Row, BBC Radio Four, 12.10.00; Hugh MacDonald, “The Mackintosh Syndrome”, major feature, The Herald (Glasgow), 13.10.00;