“It is an unfortunate fact that even the educated Scotsman does not seem to realise the international importance of Mackintosh as an architect”, wrote architect Robert Hurd in his review of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh memorial exhibition in 1933.

The exhibition, held at Glasgow’s McLellan Galleries, was staged by a group of family friends and colleagues of Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald in honour of the two artists following Margaret’s death.

Despite being largely neglected during his own lifetime outside of design and architecture circles, Mackintosh is now recognised as Scotland’s most famous architect and designer, with his buildings in and around his native Glasgow forming a major component in the city’s cultural heritage. 

It’s a far cry from the 1970s, when four of his buildings in Glasgow, including The Martyrs' Public School, were under threat of being demolished by proposed motorway expansion plans. 

In an article titled 'The Mackintosh Revival' in 1979, New York Times antiques and auctions journalist Rita Reif wrote that the furniture of the Scottish architect “is now selling at record-breaking prices” despite Mackintosh being “virtually forgotten until 10 years ago”.

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“Modernists have known it for a decade, and now the rest of the world is coming to realise that the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh are as significant in the late 20th century as were Thomas Chippendale's in the 18th century”.

Ms Reif highlighted the introduction of exact reproductions of Mackintosh’s furniture - including his iconic Hill House Chair - by Italian firm Cassina in 1973 as “one of the most important developments in advancing the appreciation of Mackintosh”.

Now rightly celebrated across the world as one of the most creative figures of the 20th century, the growth in appreciation of Mackintosh’s genius coincided with Glasgow’s own culture-led regeneration since the 1980s and 1990s. 

In 1996, Glasgow mounted the biggest ever exhibition of work by Mackintosh’s work, which occupied the entire 14,000 square feet of the McLellan Galleries. 

The highlight of Glasgow’s Festival of Visual Arts, the exhibition showcased more than 300 works by Mackintosh and unveiled some previously unexhibited works, including a reconstruction of the 1900 Ladies‘ Luncheon Room interior, originally part of Glasgow’s famous Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street Tea Rooms. 

The Herald: Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed chairsCharles Rennie Mackintosh designed chairs

The exhibition - which was viewed by more than 200,000 people during its four-month run - was billed as “the biggest and perhaps [the] last official expression of Mackintosh mania” by The List.

Of course, Glasgow has continued to celebrate Mackintosh's legacy since then.

The Glasgow Mackintosh Festival 2006 - the first time Mackintosh's work was recognised city-wide - saw more than 100 events and exhibitions take place at 25 venues, while a year-long programme of events, Mackintosh 150, was launched in December of 2017 to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. With exhibitions, events, seminars and tours will taking place across 2018, highlights included a major exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the re-opening of Mackintosh at the Willow, Miss Cranston’s original Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street. 

Speaking about the enduring influence of Mackintosh in 2018, Glasgow-based Mackintosh scholar and gallery-owner Roger Billcliffe said: “Mackintosh matters very much. Like many post-industrial cities, Glasgow relies on service industries and at the heart of that is tourism. Mackintosh bring people to Glasgow. You simply can’t see his work in the same depth anywhere else.

“His appeal is wide. You can just be a casual tourist and enjoy seeing Mackintosh. He’s there when they open the guidebook and they plan him into their trip. People go to Edinburgh to see the castle and they come to Glasgow to see Mackintosh.”

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Mackintosh’s appeal also extends beyond Glasgow to the small picturesque small French fishing town, where he spent the last four years of his life as a painter.

The Scottish Government funded a special Mackintosh exhibition - featuring a replica model of the Mackintosh Building at GSA and replicas of his furniture - in the town of Port-Vendres near the Spanish border in 2004 to mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale. To coincide with the exhibition, a Mackintosh wine was produced by the local vineyard and a plaque was installed at Hotel du Commerce, where he lived with his wife, Margaret.

His influence has also reached the silver screen, with Mackintosh’s geometric designs influencing movies such as Blade Runner and Inception.

Legendary British production designer and art director Norman Reynolds, who was best known for his work on the original Star Wars trilogy, acknowledged that Mackintosh’s tearooms served inspiration for the dining room in The Empire Strikes Back.