Charles Rennie Mackintosh- Argyle Chair (1898)

The Argyle Chair was created by Mackintosh for the Argyle Street Tea Rooms in 1898, featuring long, tapering uprights that is intersected with an enlarged oval headrest; here a stylised shape of a swallow in flight is carved out to give it an artistic and emblematic quality.

The chair’s combination of simple and sculptural elements with an emphasis on natural forms echoed the ideas propounded by the Arts and Crafts movement, of which Mackintosh was an admirer.

An important figure in Mackintosh’s career was the Glasgow-based businesswoman Catherine Cranston. Cranston came up with the idea of opening a series of tearooms with artistic interiors. She invited Mackintosh to work alongside architect and designer George Walton on the design of Cranston’s Argyle Street Tea Rooms, with Mackintosh focusing on the furnishings.

The unusual height of the Argyle Chairs meant that they formed a screen around the tables, creating the feeling of a room within a room.


In 1900, the Argyle Chair was exhibited at the Eighth Exhibition of the Vienna Secession in Austria, where Mackintosh’s work was held in high regard, and strongly influenced the work of the artists, architects and designers of the Wiener Werkstatte community.


Author: Anna Marie Fisker