Happy Birthday, Charles Rennie Mackintosh


Inspiration comes from many places – nature, music, the seasons. For Ola, great inspiration has been found in the works of other artists: in particular, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret Macdonald.

Today, June 7th, is the 152nd birthday of Mackintosh. The Glasgow born designer, architect and artist needs little introduction, however the work of his wife, Margaret, and that of her sister, Frances Macdonald MacNair, is often overlooked.

Born in 1868 and 1873 respectively, Margaret and Frances were both students at Glasgow School of Art, where, along with Mackintosh and Herbert McNair (who Frances later married), they formed an informal creative alliance, producing innovative and at times controversial graphics and decorative art designs.


Their work made an important contribution to the development and recognition of a distinctive ‘Glasgow Style’ and was hugely influential on European design movements such as Art Nouveau and Secessionism.

One of the most gifted and successful women artists in Scotland at the turn of the century, Margaret’s body of work included watercolours, graphics, metalwork and textiles.

Her decorative panels for furniture and interiors, constructed from gesso (a plaster-based medium) were arguably her greatest achievement.


Together with Frances, she set up a studio in Glasgow in the mid-1890s, where they collaborated on metalwork, graphics, textile designs and book illustrations, exhibiting in London, Liverpool and Venice.

Two pioneering women designers in a male dominated world…  Back in the 1970s, Ola was one of the first of a younger generation of designers to appreciate Mackintosh, Margaret and Frances, and to draw inspiration for her own work from them.

Ola has taken much inspiration from the work of Margaret and Frances in particular: indeed, two collections are named after them.  Others which show their influence include our May Queen range, designed with one of Margaret's most famous works – also named The May Queen – which was commissioned for Miss Cranston's tearoom in Glasgow.

Others, such as our Red Rose and Rose Boudoir collections, were also influenced by the distinctive Rennie Mackintosh style - you can find them on the site under the Classic Collections.  

Happy Birthday Tosh!

View all the Mackintosh inspired jewellery.


All pictures courtesy of Wikipedia. 

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