Last weekend I went to RIBA’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition at their Portland Place building. The art deco buiding with its Woodford entrance doors does make for a very suitable backdrop to the exhibition. Mostly consisting of models, illustrations and floor plans, it covers both buildings that came into being and much of his unrealised work; I especially love his design for Liverpool Cathedral, where swirling art nouveau detail rest on a gothic structure. I also can’t help but notice that when he draws trees and shrubs in the gardens for his houses, they always look exactly like his own decorative works.
Later, I also visit the Cotton and Gold exhibition at Two Temple Place. Dedicated to the ability of wealthy manufacturers in the North of England to purchase extensive art collections, it does include one loom that epitomises the source of this wealth, but is mostly simply a collection of unconnected art objects on loan from various northern museums. These range from a number of Japanese woodblock prints, Tiffany mosaics and vases, coleoptera collections, Orthodox icons, illuminated medieval books, Assyrian tablets, ivory carvings, an Inca mummy and Turner watercolours – plus quite a lot of taxidermy, ranging from eagles to owls.