Saturday, October 10, 2009

Glasgow: Tea in the Alley of Willows

After two days on my own in Glasgow, my walking buddies began to appear in the city - Jan and Sally in the morning after a long trip from Point Townsend, Washington, and Kathleen in the afternoon from Edinburgh. By this time, I could get around by foot, bus, subway, train, and the occasional hitchhiking. It was time to show off my city to my buddies.

I couldn't get enough of Glasgow architecture, from the old at Charing Cross

to the new Glasgow Armadillo.

But what I wanted to hunt down was some Charles Rennie MacKintosh. With persistence and a personal form of GPS - that is, pick a likely prospect, best an older gentleman, and ask directions - Sally and I located the Willow Tea Room just up the street from the Cathedral, on Sauchiehall Street, Gaelic for "willow meadow". No wonder we had trouble finding it - a jeweler now occupies the ground floor of the building.

MacKintosh, a celebrated Glaswegian architect, designed the building and Willow Tea Rooms for Kate Cranston, a restaurateur, in 1903 in an art nouveau style, originally four floors. Only the Gallery and Room de Luxe remain but they give a feel of how magnificent these rooms were at the turn of the twentieth century.

MacKintosh had a hand in the design of everything, the building exterior and interior, furniture, down to the spoons. These high back chairs are his signature design.

After Sally and I had a bite of lunch in the Gallery, I peeked in at the Room de Luxe upstairs. In its heyday, this room would have been the place to be, with its fireplace, silver high backed chairs, soft gray carpet, mauve upholstery and leaded glass windows looking out to Sauchiehall below.

Later in the afternoon, Jan and I checked out the Charles Rennie MacKintosh exibition at the Kelvingrove. More great stuff, another chair,

and his signature Glasgow roses.

I woke up that night with Charles Rennie MacKintosh going through my head. How about a CRM room in my house, maybe a bedroom do over. Who says a house has to be all one style? I already have Modern Californian Victorian with a touch of Asian and Charleston. Why not?


Pat said...

Did you pick up any Charles Rennie MacKintosh prints or souvenirs to use in your bedroom re-do?

Katharine said...

Wouldn've been a good idea, eh? Came home souvenirless. Looks like another trip will have to be made.

Kappa no He said...

Wow, that art nouveau is fancy. And isn't it wonderful you get to go back to get souvenirs? *wink*