Designer / Maker
Designed by C.R. Mackintosh (1868-1928)
Ebony and stained casein
9 ¾ in (24.8 cm) × 4 ¾ in (12 cm) × 4 ¼ in (10.8 cm)
Possibly manufactured on the Isle of Man, circa 1917
Wedding gift from the designer to A.R. Sturrock and Mary Newbury
American private collection
Roger Billcliffe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh: The Complete Furniture, Furniture Drawings & Interior Designs, London, 1979, under 1917.4.
Gerald and Celia Larner, The Glasgow Style, Glasgow, 1979, 1980, Fig. 17
The form of the present clock is a modification of a design created by Mackintosh around 1905 for Walter Blackie, for The Hill House, Helensburgh (see Billcliffe, op. cit., 1905.24 and D1905.25). Two of these clocks were made at the time, one of which was for the designer himself. One of the clocks, raised on a cluster of sixteen legs, and with conventional roman numerals on the dial, belongs to Glasgow University. In 1917 Mackintosh adapted the design in a ten-legged version for W.J. Bassett-Lowke, for 78, Derngate, Northampton (Billcliffe, op. cit., 1917.1); this clock is now in the Sidney and Frances Lewes collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Another unprovenanced clock, probably from this period, was sold by Christie’s, London, 6 November 2002, lot 51; it is now in an American private collection.
The present clock is a variant of a second design for Bassett-Lowke, a six-legged version with domino numerals, now in the collection of Glasgow University (see Wendy Kaplan, ed., Charles Rennie Mackintosh, exn cat. 1996, no. 262, Pl. 248). As Billcliffe (op. cit., 1917.4) observes: ‘this design is consciously “modern” with its bold patterned face and extensive use of coloured inlays looking ahead to designs of the 1920s’. The use of casein, exhibited by Erinoid at the first British Industries Fair in 1915, is another modern feature. The present clock is arguably more successful aesthetically than the Bassett-Lowke version, as the face is not compromised by the presence of two key holes. According to the Larners (loc. cit.), but without evidence, the present clock was made by German craftsmen interned as enemy aliens on the Isle of Man.