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The Holly Tree Hotel, Kentallen, By Appin, Argyll
Kentallen, near Glencoe, Argyll PA38 4BY
Resident Proprietors: The McFatridge Family

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie MacintoshThe Hotel has two themes running through it. The first is that of the design features of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the other is that of the old Kentallen Railway station.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow on 7th June 1868,and trained as an architect. He studied art and design at evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art.

At art school, Mackintosh and his friend and colleague Herbert MacNair met the artist sisters Margaret and Frances Macdonald. These four artists collaborated on designs for fumiture, metalwork and illustration, developing a distinctive imagery of weird, abstracted female figures and metamorphic lines reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley. Their style earned them the nickname of the 'Spook School' and their work, particularly in England, was treated with suspicion because of its decadent influence of Continental art nouveau.

The majority of Mackintosh's work was created, with the help of a small number of patrons, within a short period of intense activity between 1896 and 1910. Francis Newbery helped Mackintosh to secure the prestigious commission to design the new Glasgow School of Art (now known as the Mackintosh Building); for Miss Kate Cranston he designed a series of Glasgow tea room interiors and the businesmen William Davidson and Walter Blackie commissioned large private houses, 'Windyhill' in Kilmacolm and 'The Hill House' in Helensburgh.

In Europe, the originality of Mackintosh's style was quickly appreciated and in Germany and Austria he received the acclaim that he was never truly to gain at home. In 1900, the Mackintoshes were feted in Vienna as a result of their contribution to the 8th Vienna Secession; this led to friendships with designers such as Josef Hoffmann and the commission to design the Wamdorfer Music Salon. In 1902, the Mackintosh Room at the Turin Intemational Exhibition was also enthusiastically received and he went on to exhibit in Moscow and Berlin.

Despite this success, and with his undoubted influence abroad, Mackintosh's work met with considerable indifference at home and his career in Glasgow declined. Few private clients were sufficiently sympathetic to want his 'total design' of house and interior and he was incapable of compromise.

By 1914 Mackintosh had despaired of ever receiving recognition in Glasgow and both he and Margaret moved to Walberswick on the Suffolk coastline where he painted many fine flower studies in water-colour. In 1915 they settled in London and for the next few years, Mackintosh attempted to resume practice as an architect and designer. The designs he produced at this time, for textiles, for the 'Dug-Out' Tea Room in Glasgow and the dramatic interiors for Bassett-Lowke's house in Northampton show him working in a bold new style of decoration, using primary colours and geometric motifs. It was an output of extraordinary vitality and originality which went virtually unheeded in England.

Holly Tree HotelIn 1923, the Mackintoshes left London for the South of France where Mackintosh finally gave up all thought of architecture and devoted himself entirely to painting landscapes. He died in London, of cancer, on 10 December 1928.

Some of the main features in Hotel with Mackintosh flavours are the restaurant chairs, the style of beading used throughout, and the half circle shaped restaurant windows.


Scottish Tourist Board 3 Stars

Egon Ronay Recommended

Scotland's Personal Hotels

Green Tourism


The Holly Tree Hotel,
Kentallen, by Appin, Argyll PA38 4BY.
Telephone: (+44/0)1631 740292
Fax: (+44/0)1631 740345
Email: stay@hollytreehotel.co.uk

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