This design for a wall stencil for the Hall Lounge of 78 Derngate was produced by Charles Rennie Mackintosh during his time in Chelsea (1915-1923). It featured in the 78 Derngate Centenary Exhibition “Charles Rennie Mackintosh & The Great War“. The design was also recreated at full size for the exhibition and has been retained on display at 78 Derngate as of 2017.

The Hall Lounge of 78 Derngate is a room which forms the principal reception space into which opens the street-facing front door of the house. Visitors arriving at the house would be welcomed into the room which, in the 1916-17 remodelling, was decorated by Mackintosh using a triangle-based stencil applied against a black background. The ceiling, floor and furniture were also finished predominantly in black enlivened with vivid splashes of colour from the stencil, furniture inlays, textiles and stained glass screen. This black-based scheme was reproduced during the restoration of 78 Derngate in 2002-3 and is now on view to public visitors to the house.

Around 1920, W.J Bassett-Lowke commissioned Mackintosh to redesign the interior of this room. A much brighter scheme resulted. The walls were repainted in ‘French Gray’. Furniture and fabrics were also changed. Reprising the earlier approach, Mackintosh designed a new stencil scheme, again based on triangles, for the walls. The 11 design drawings for this scheme were acquired by RIBA from Mrs Bassett-Lowke in 1956. The set of drawings primarily comprise a series of separations for each element of the stencil with detailed annotations by Mackintosh relating to how the design was to be produced on the wall. Specifications are given about the exact positioning of the design with references to existing fittings such as the window fillet. A twelfth drawing for the scheme – a partial render of the finished design – is in the collection of The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery. ( Catalogue reference: 41694 – image shown below ). The principal drawing in the RIBA set ( shown below ) is PB280/5(1) which is a rendering of the full design with positional notes and dimensions in Mackintosh’s hand. This drawing also carries the address of his Chelsea studio in Glebe Place.

During the 2002-3 restoration of 78 Derngate traces of this 1920 stencil scheme were found to remain on the walls of the Hall Lounge. These were photographed and remain preserved beneath the recreated 1916 scheme.

Confusion surrounds the dating of this scheme. Erroneous dates for its installation appear in versions of the RIBA catalogue ( where the date is given incorrectly either as 1912 or 1916 ). Architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner may be the partial source of this error having used the 1916 date in his 1950 publication ‘Charles R. Mackintosh’. Research carried out during the restoration of 78 Derngate has determined that the c.1920 date is more accurate. This stencil design was used for a second time by Bassett-Lowke around 1926 at his successor home ‘New Ways’. There it was applied to the walls of his study in which some of the Mackintosh furniture from 78 Derngate was also to be found.

Image reproduced by kind permission of and is © Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Clicking on the reference number link below will take you to the RIBA website where further information may be available. All enquiries about usage of this image, access to the original work and information should be directed to RIBA.

RIBA reference number: PB280/5(1)

Image reproduced by kind permission of and is © The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow.

Clicking on the catalogue number link below will take you to the Hunterian website where further information may be available. All enquiries about usage of this image, access to the original work and information should be directed to The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.

The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery catalogue information. 
Design for stencil decoration in the hall, 78 Derngate, Northampton 1920.
CRE MACKINTOSH, Charles Rennie; (Scottish; 1868-1928)

Pencil and watercolour on brown paper
Catalogue number: 41694

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