78 Derngate Archive

Doors for The Room De Luxe Willow Tea Rooms.

27 Jul
David Walsh
Doors for The Room De Luxe, Willow Tea Rooms. Replica

These replicas of the doors for The Room De Luxe at The Willow Tea Rooms featured in the 78 Derngate Centenary Exhibition “Charles Rennie Mackintosh & The Great War“.

Mackintosh was employed by Miss Kate Cranston to work on a number of tea rooms. The Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street opened in October 1903 to much acclaim, with one Glasgow paper describing the design as the “acme of originality.” This photograph shows the Room de Luxe in 1903.

The building was an existing tenement and this was remodelled by the firm of Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh. The street frontage was reconstructed in a markedly modern style. White render was applied. Carefully detailed asymmetric fenestration admitted daylight to the rooms fronting the street including a long curved window to the first floor Room De Luxe.

A series of rooms, each with different functions and distinctive decor were created. On the ground floor was a ladies’ tea room at the front and a lunch room at the back. The first floor contained a tea gallery and The Room de Luxe. On the second floor was The Men’s Billiard and Smoking Rooms.

These doors were designed for the Room de Luxe, which has been described as “a fantasy for afternoon tea”. The design is thought to represent a stylised willow tree. The room had a colour scheme of grey, purple and white, with a grey and purple carpet, rose purple upholstery and silver painted tables and chairs. The long curved window ran down one side and the upper walls were covered with mirrored leaded-glass panels. The doors feature recurring shapes and colours used throughout the interior.

The replica doors were made in 2000 by Linda Cannon and Rab MacInnes.

The original doors still exist and were in position at the entrance to The Room de Luxe until the building was closed for renovation in 2016. In 2018, following restoration of the building and reopening of the Tearooms as ‘Mackintosh at The Willow’ the replica doors as displayed at 78 Derngate in 2017 were installed in the Room de Luxe. The original doors are now displayed in the adjoining visitor centre.

Mackintosh continued to work on the Willow Tea Rooms building at various points until 1917. In 1906, decoration and alterations to extend services in the basement were made. Between 1916 and 1917, ‘The Dug Out’ was created in the basement of no 219 Sauchiehall Street adjoining.

Replica doors displayed by kind permission of The Willow Tea Rooms Trust.
Makers: Linda Cannon and Rab MacInnes.
Year of manufacture: 2000.

1903 Image and information reproduced by kind permission of and is © The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow.

Further information sourced from Glasgow Museums.

Clicking on the catalogue number link below will take you to the Hunterian website where further information may be available. All enquiries about usage of the 1903 image, access to the original work and information should be directed to The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery or Willow Tea Rooms Trust respectively.

The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery catalogue information.
The Room de Luxe, Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow 1903.
CRE MACKINTOSH, Charles Rennie; (Scottish; 1868-1928)
Photograph adhered to card.
Catalogue number: