Charles Rennie Mackintosh enjoyed an influential career as one of Britain’s most important contributors to twentieth-century design. As his Glasgow school of art unfolded at the turn of the century, publisher Walter Blackie approached Mackintosh to design his home, The Hill House, in Helensburgh outside Glasgow.
Blackie was drawn towards Mackintosh’s approach to designing, whereby one person created everything from the building to the cutlery and door handles. It was for Blackie’s bedroom that Mackintosh designed the Ladder Back Chair.
Turning away from the organic naturalism of Art Nouveau, Mackintosh adopted abstract geometry inspired by the rectilinear patterns of Japanese design.
He was interested in balancing opposites, choosing a dark ebonized ash wood frame in contrast to the white wall behind. The seemingly unnecessary height of the chair enhanced the spatial qualities of the room.
For Mackintosh, the visual effects of a wholly integrated scheme were more important than the quality of craftsmanship and truth to materials advocated by his Arts and Crafts contemporaries.
Keywords: Muebles Gate-Hill house ladder chair, Art Nouveau, Mackintosh, craftsmanship