These are worrying times for all who care about saving the finest works by one of the world’s greatest architects, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. For 2018, the 150th anniversary of his birth, was meant to be a year of celebration but instead will be remembered as the Scotsman’s annus horribilis, with the future of his two most famous works at great risk.
First, his celebrated Hill House in Helensburgh, as fine a house as anything produced by Frank Lloyd Wright in America, is closed and about to be covered in a vast tarpaulin. Beneath this, conservators will grapple one last time to find a definitive solution to keep out the driving rain, which has long saturated the exteriors and damaged the precious interiors of this house, designed by Mackintosh for the publisher Walter Blackie in 1902, and now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. However, even more critical is the immediate future of Mackintosh’s masterpiece, the Glasgow School of Art.