The Art of the Four by Roger Billcliffe
The Art of the Four by Roger Billcliffe

Book review: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and The Art of the Four by Roger Billcliffe

Wherever you go in the world, there’s absolutely no mistaking the work, style and influence of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Although Mackintosh is the name most remembered today, he was one of a quartet whose work is known today as the Glasgow Style, with Margaret Macdonald – Mackintosh’s future wife – alongside Herbert MacNair and Frances Macdonald.

The group, known as ‘The Four’, were key players during Art Nouveau period, as young designers, architects and artists.

Between them, they shared a graphic language after training at the Glasgow School of Art, embracing the international stylings of Art Nouveau and made it very much their own.

The Art of the Four by Roger Billcliffe

Roger Billcliffe, who was keeper of Fine Art at Glasgow Art Gallery, evidently knows and loves his Mackintosh. This work brings together the story of The Four and looks at the entirety of their careers, not just from the period in the 1890s from which their best-known work hails.

This is in many ways a biography of art, looking at the growth and the influences upon the artists, charting the rise to the height of their creative powers, and then the lows that sadly followed.

The Art of the Four, by Roger Billcliffe, published by Frances Lincoln, £40.

Scottish Field rating: *****