Hill House


‘The Hill House’

“..John McKean’s entertaining catalogue essay…” Simon Schama, The New Yorker

Essay in book accompanying major international C. R. M. exhibition (1996)


in W. Kaplan (ed.) Charles Rennie Mackintosh, (book and exhibition catalogue), Abbeville Press with the Metropolitan Museum (NY) and Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries (UK), June 1996; Chapter 6,  pp. 175 – 200.

Reviewed (full page) by Julian Holder,     The Architects’ Journal, 5 September 1996, p 53.

“..John McKean’s entertaining catalogue essay…”  Simon Schama; quoted by him in the only reference to the book in his long (and fascinating)  review of the CRM exhibition newly opened at the Met. , NY.

The New Yorker, 16 December 1996, pp 110 – 114

“The lengthy historical-formal analysis of Hill House by John McKean adds few new insights  (especially by comparison with the remarkable recent researches of Eleanor Gregh into Hill House’s symbolic geometry).”

Miles Glendinning, Things 5, Winter 1996-7, p.116

[McKean’s essay was commissioned to replace Eleanor Gregh’s which editor and publisher considered abstruse and utterly inappropriate to a general audience.  Gregh’s text was also variously considered both dubious history and bogus ‘science’).   It was suggested she find a specialist publication; having been refused by Architectural History, it was accepted by architectural research quarterly.]

cited in: Weisberg, Gabriel P., and Menon, Elizabeth K., Art Nouveau: Research Guide for Design Reform in France, Belgium, England and the United States (1998)  “… the author stresses a formalistic reading of (The Hill House).  Each area of the house is carefully examined… he elucidate the fundamental qualities of each section.  Each detail in a section is linked with the larger elements in the room to provide a comprehensive study of the ways in which mackintosh’s designs for rooms can be read.  The author sees the building as a “…family house of small and intimate spaces” where much is achieved with very little means.   etc” (p 346)