Candlestick designed by wife of Rennie Macintosh sells for £52,000


A CANDLESTICK designed by the wife of Charles Rennie Mackintosh has been sold for £52,000 almost three times its value, in Edinburgh yesterday (Wed).

The antique was designed by Margaret MacDonald, later wife of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and her sister Frances who later married Herbert MacNair.

The piece, valued at £20,000 was made in the sisters’ studio, 128 Hope Street, Glasgow where they had lived for a short time after they had completed their studies at the Glasgow School of Art.

The two couples met at the Glasgow School of Art, where Mackintosh and MacNair studied architecture.  The artists later became known as the loose collective “The Four”. 

Mackintosh is believed to have had great appreciation for his wife’s work and is known to have said, “Margaret has genius, I have only talent.”

John Mackie Director and Decorative Arts Specialist at Lyon & Turnbull said that the discovery of this candlestick offers a rare insight into the sisters’ influencial collaboration which is largely undocumented.

He said: “There’s been very good interest in this very rare object.  It is an early collaborative piece by Margaret MacDonald, she excelled when she collaborated especially with Mackintosh or her sister, Frances.

“This is an impressive artefact both in terms of its conception and construction. The candlestick embodies many of the stylistic innovations that would contribute to and characterise the influential Glasgow Style. It is an exceptional example of what has been referred to as ‘the poetic metalwork of the Macdonald sisters.

“The original drawing for the piece is in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, which is very compelling to a collector.

“Apart from anything else it is beautiful and the new owner is delighted.  There were 5 telephone bidders vying and eventually it was down to two to fight it out to the end.”

The candlestick belonged to the late Linda Rose Gallagher who was given the piece in the 1970’s, and collected a large collection of Glasgow metalware in her lifetime.

A relative said after the sale, “The family are over the moon with the sale and we hope that whoever has bought it will treasure it as much as my sister in law did.”

REPORT: Clare Carswell