This wall stencil was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1920 during his time in Chelsea (1915-1923). It was commissioned by W.J. Bassett-Lowke for the re-decoration of the Hall Lounge at 78 Derngate. The design replaced an earlier scheme by Mackintosh implemented in 1916-17. A set of drawings for this stencil scheme are in the RIBA archive held at the Victoria & Albert Museum. A reproduction of one of these drawings was featured in the 78 Derngate Centenary Exhibition “Charles Rennie Mackintosh & The Great War“.
Bassett-Lowke used the design twice. At 78 Derngate it is believed to have persisted until at least 1926 when the house was sold and the Bassett-Lowkes moved out. It was then used again at New Ways, their second home.
Remnants of the 1920 78 Derngate version were uncovered on the walls of the Hall Lounge during the restoration of the house in 2002-3 where they remain conserved and covered over by the recreated 1916-17 scheme which is on view to public visitors. Photographs of these remains, together with Mackintosh’s drawings were used to recreate the scheme for display in the Centenary Exhibition.
Elisabeth Viguie-Culshaw, is a Glasgow based specialist who previously realised interior designs at The House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, and has worked on The Mackintosh House at The Hunterian. In 1996 she recreated the 1916-17 stencil scheme from 78 Derngate for the exhibition “Charles Rennie Mackintosh” at The McLellan Galleries, Glasgow. This later toured to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2016 she was commissioned to reproduce the 78 Derngate 1920 stencil and writes:
“They are the most precise working drawings I have seen. It was a pleasure to peruse through all the elements. It is a complicated stencil. For each motif, 9 stencil plates are superposed; an immaculate design. After lining up the first plate all follows in an impeccable order.”
A blog article  and video  were produced documenting the recreation process.
The stencil, produced at full size for the first time in 90 years, was applied to two composite fibreboard panels. Lack of information about the exact nature of the original materials used in 1920 together with the results of detailed research lead to the conclusion that modern emulsion paints could be obtained with appropriate colour and surface finish qualities to render the design appropriately. Furthermore, as a temporary gallery exhibit, considerations of authenticity which come into play within historic interiors did not apply. The photograph below shows the piece in the exhibition.
Following the closure of the exhibition in April 2017 the piece was retained and displayed in the study of 78 Derngate where it can be viewed by public visitors.
All enquiries about usage of this image, access to the original works and information should be directed to 78 Derngate.
Recreated wall stencil for 78 Derngate Northampton. 1920.
Place of Origin:Northampton.
Date: 2017 (made).
Designer: Mackintosh, Charles Rennie, born 1868 – died 1928.
Maker: Viguie-Culshaw, Elisabeth. Website.
Materials and Techniques: Painted and stencilled fibreboard.