In 1919 Charles Rennie Mackintosh was commissioned to design the interior of  the dining room at no 5 The Drive Northampton [ location ]. This large Edwardian house was at this time home to Frank Jones, brother to Mrs Bassett-Lowke, whose husband Wenman Joseph had previously commissioned Mackintosh to remodel 78 Derngate ( 1916-17 ) and to carry out various other designs. Mackintosh produced an interior clearly related to the Bassett-Lowke designs. Unlike the dining room at Derngate where Bassett-Lowke had eschewed Mackintosh’s designs for the dining room furniture in favour of his own, here Jones was provided with a full suite of furniture as well as built-in cabinetry and a wall decoration scheme.


Design for a sideboard and wall decoration, for F. Jones, The Drive, Northampton. Charles Rennie Mackintosh. 1919.
Image: Courtesy Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery. [ 1 ]

Mackintosh’s design drawing shows both elements of the fixed furniture and decoration and two pieces of the moveable furniture. Both the wall decoration and furniture pieces are very similar to those produced for Bassett-Lowke’s Candida Cottage at Roade in c.1918. The Candida Cottage furniture featured rectangular inlays of green/blue Erinoid, an early casein-based plastic. Whilst Mackintosh’s drawing for the 5 The Drive scheme appears to show similar coloured inlays, these were substituted for walnut pieces against the predominant oak in the furniture as executed. Although erinoid or a similar material appears to survive in the the fixed cabinet work fitted to the room. The wall stencil design reprises the Candida Cottage stencil and is shown with blue and red details against a ladder of black ‘T’, ‘L’ and ‘S’ shaped elements. A surviving drawing by Mackintosh, thought to be for the Candida Cottage scheme, gives a clearer picture of the concepts he developed. Period photographs of the rooms at the cottage and at The Drive show that the stencil used was, to an extent. simplified in execution.


Design for stencilled decoration. Charles Rennie Mackintosh. c.1918.
Image: Courtesy Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery. [ 2 ]

Also shown in the scheme drawing are two wall lanterns. In the room as realised four of these were produced. Two were used either side of the fireplace mantel ( a similar configuration to that seen at the earlier 78 Derngate Dining Room scheme ). Additionally a further two lanterns were installed on the wall opposite to the fireplace.

Stylistically the room can be characterised perhaps as a hybrid of the built in cabinetry seen at 78 Derngate and the more progressive wall decoration and furniture produced for Candida Cottage. The cabinet work, as at Derngate, uses the recesses either side of the chimney breast to house glazed display cabinets above open shelving and storage bays below. These feature concealed tilting storage bins for coal and magazines. It is spare, rectilinear and progressively modern in its form; removed even further from Arts & Crafts influences than its Derngate predecessor. Brightly coloured elements feature in the cobalt and green tiled fire surround, green erinoid handle plates and the vivid wall stencil.


Cabinetry and fireplace at 5 The Drive Northampton ( photograph c. 2000 – when the property was marketed for sale. The gas fire is a modern addition ).


Wall lanterns and replacement wall stencilling at 5 The Drive Northampton ( photograph c. 2000 – when the property was marketed for sale. The stencil work is by local art school students ).

Moveable furniture from the room, made at Knockaloe Camp ( like the previous Bassett-Lowke / Mackintosh commissions ), has subsequently been dispersed to various private collections.

The house was sold c.2000. In 2016 extensive efforts were made to arrange access for photography in order that the interior could be documented and featured in the 78 Derngate Centenary Exhibition. Unfortunately access was not eventually permitted. It was understood from the current owner at that time that the Mackintosh-designed room was being used as office accommodation. Additional information about this late work by Mackintosh is welcome.

In June 2019 the sideboard from the room was offered for sale in the United States by auctioneers Freeman’s and subsequently sold for (US) $62,500.

Auction house photograph of sideboard for 5 The Drive, Charles Rennie Mackintosh 1919.
2019 – courtesy Freeman’s of Philadelphia.

1. Image and information 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 a sideboard and wall decoration, for F. Jones, The Drive, Northampton
CRE MACKINTOSH, Charles Rennie; (Scottish; 1868-1928)

pencil and watercolour on paper 39.6 x 76.2
Catalogue number: 41689

2. Image and information 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
CRE MACKINTOSH, Charles Rennie; (Scottish; 1868-1928)

pencil and watercolour on paper 75.7 x 55.3
Catalogue number: 41695

 

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