Made in UK

Visitors to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh House at 78 Derngate this spring can view a contemporary artwork which explores Mackintosh’s lesser-known connection to a WW1 internment camp at Knockaloe on The Isle of Man. This unique story provides further intrigue and interest during the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Tom Krasny is a Glasgow-based artist, working mainly with Sculpture. Her current project, ‘Made In UK’ began in 2016 and has received research assistance from the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, Manx National Heritage, Isle of Man and the team at 78 Derngate. She created a body of work based on an historical event tying together Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Wenman Joseph Bassett Lowke, and German civilian internees at the internment camp, Knockaloe which operated between 1914 and 1919. The completed artworks were first exhibited at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art Degree Show in 2017. We are honoured that 78 Derngate has been chosen for their second public display.

Tom’s work asks to draw visitors’ attention to the fact that pieces of furniture designed by Mackintosh for 78 Derngate and other Northamptonshire properties and ordered by Wenman Joseph Bassett Lowke, were built at Knockaloe camp’s cabinet making workshop by members of the internee community, between 1916-1917. [
Link to external image ].

One of the artworks exhibited, ‘Spy Fever’, is a bronze cast of a wooden stool which was part of the 78 Derngate guest bedroom furniture suite. The original stool was acquired by the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow and is displayed there. Tom was granted both permission and funding from The Manx government, to install the sculpture permanently at Knockaloe Farm, which is the historical site for Knockaloe internment camp. The public sculpture will serve as a memorial for Knockaloe craftsmen, and will be incorporated into the Knockaloe visitor Centre, an ambitious interpretation project led by Alison Jones and the
Knockaloe Foundation. The centre is planned to launch in March 2019. The installation of the sculpture is planned for August 2018. These evocative contemporary works and their exhibition at three sites form a moving reflection on an extraordinary period in British history.

Tom Krasny, Made In UK

1 February - 22 April 2018

Further information is available on our
website and at the artists webpage.

Gavin Stamp

It was with great sadness that we heard the news in late December of the death of Gavin Stamp.

Gavin had a long association with 78 Derngate dating back to his interest whilst at Cambridge in the 1970s. As both Professor at The Mackintosh School of Architecture of the Glasgow School of Art from 1990 to 2003 and as an independent writer and scholar he championed the work of Mackintosh. He was greatly troubled by the fire at the Mackintosh Building in 2014 and wrote a typically forthright piece in The London Review of Books which did not hold back either in its title “Toshie Trashed” or in its assessment of the disaster.

Readers of ‘Private Eye’ will have known Gavin’s writing under his pseudonym ‘Piloti’. This, his many books, contributions to learned journals, media appearances, educational work and his tireless support for conservation groups such as The Twentieth Century Society and also The Victorian Society earned him a place in the pantheon of British architectural writers.

We were delighted over several years to welcome him to 78 Derngate with groups from The Victorian Society of America. His personal kindness, wit and vast knowledge left a lasting impression on those who met him. A reading of the numerous tributes online and in print since his passing reveals a testament to how respected he was and how widely his loss has been felt. We express our sincere condolences to his family.

Gavin Stamp. Architectural historian, writer and broadcaster. 15th March 1948 – 30th December 2017.

Celebrity Antiques Road Trip

It was a great pleasure to welcome expert Roo Irvine and actor Clare Holman to 78 Derngate back in June. BBC Celebrity Antiques Road Trip visited us during their trip around the Midlands. The Road Trip team is very efficient and it was obvious that they knew what they wanted to get from the visit and that they’d done their homework too! The narrative of the ‘story’ to be told had already been sketched out. The plan seemed to be that we would follow this loose outline but have a fairly natural conversation on camera aiming to include all of the key bits of information about Mackintosh and the house. Clare and Roo were taken on an informal tour of the house which was great fun and they seemed to be having a good time discovering and taking their own photos of all the details. The episode will be first broadcast on BBC at 7pm on 13th December 2017. David who hosted the visit has written a 'behind the scenes' on his blog with further photos and details. [ BBC iPlayer link UK only ]

Object of the month

This month visitors to 78 Derngate can see a fabulous engraved half Hunter gold pocket watch which was presented to the very first employee of Bassett-Lowke Ltd on completion of 25 years service to the company. William (Bill) Rowe received the watch from W.J Bassett-Lowke and Harry Franklin at Christmas 1925.

Object of the month

Meet Tortoise!
This black painted cast iron novelty bell was acquired by W. J. Bassett-Lowke it is thought sometime before 1926; the year that the Bassett-Lowkes moved to ‘New Ways’.

Similar cast iron table or desk bells of German manufacture were being made around the turn of the twentieth century.

At New Ways, Tortoise lived on a small table in the entrance hall. In the days when people did not lock their front doors during the day visitors would announce their arrival by depressing the head or tail to make the bell ring. This would alert the maid or housekeeper Mrs Cauldwell. It is reported that Tortoise was a delight to all young visitors who were sometimes given to repeated ringings. The patience of the adults was saved by the run down of the clockwork mechanism bringing temporary silence until rewinding.

See Tortoise on display at 78 Derngate during the month of August.