The Four - Mackintosh and his contemporaries

The group known as ‘The Four’ comprised Charles Rennie Mackintosh, James Herbert McNair (1868 - 1955), and the sisters, Margaret Macdonald (1864 - 1933) and Frances Macdonald (1873 - 1921).

The artists met as young students at Glasgow School of Art in the mid 1890s. Mackintosh and McNair were close friends and fellow apprentice architects in the Glasgow practice of Honeyman and Keppie, and the sisters were day students at Glasgow School of Art. They formed an informal creative alliance which produced innovative and at times controversial graphics and decorative art designs which made an important contribution to the development and recognition of a distinctive ‘Glasgow Style’.

In 1899 McNair and Frances Macdonald married and moved to Liverpool. Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald married the following year, remaining in Glasgow till 1914.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

At the heart of the Glasgow Style and the most famous of the four is Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His work is recognised throughout the world. 

Margaret Macdonald

Margaret Macdonald was married to Mackintosh and an acclaimed artist in her own right. She worked in partnership with her husband on many of his important projects.

James Herbert McNair

Herbert McNair was a designer and talented teacher. He made an important contribution in the early 1890s to the development of Mackintosh’s creative imagination and the Glasgow style. 

Frances Macdonald

Frances Macdonald’s achievements are less well known than those of her sister, Margaret Macdonald. This is due to the loss of much of her work and  that she left Glasgow in 1899. Nonetheless she produced some of the most powerful imagery of the Glasgow Style.

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