SHE was the wife of one of Scotland’s most famous architects and is seen by many as being the brains behind much of his groundbreaking design work and interiors.

Now an artist is calling for more recognition from Glasgow around the work and significance of Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh – the wife of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Visual artist, illustrator and muralist Molly Hankinson has made the call after her new mural of Mackintosh was unveiled in the city at Chivas’ Strathclyde Distillery in the Gorbals.

Glasgow Times: Glasgow-based visual artist, illustrator and muralist Molly HankinsonGlasgow-based visual artist, illustrator and muralist Molly Hankinson (Image: Chivas Regal)

Alongside fellow Glasgow-based artists Michael Corr and Rogue One, the mural was completed as part of the “I Rise, We Rise” project, in partnership with Glasgow-based production company artpistol Projects, which saw the three 9.4m tall, rounded tanks at the distillery – one of the oldest grain distilleries in Scotland – transformed with paintings of historic local figures.

Ms Hankinson told our sister title The Herald she chose to paint a mural of Mackintosh on the “shock” realization that one did not already exist in Glasgow.

She said: “We were given a brief, but we were allowed to choose at the same time, we had to choose someone who meant a lot to us or the city. Chivas Regal’s motto is ‘I Rise, We Rise’ so they wanted us to choose someone who we thought embodied that spirit and that message, someone who has risen up against the odds or someone who deserves to be championed or celebrated within the city.

“So yes, Margaret was my choice basically. I was amazed to find out that there wasn’t a mural of Margaret in Glasgow and I said, ‘Oh my God I can’t believe that!’. “I researched it before I decided to dedicate a mural to her, because I didn’t want to step on any other artist’s toes if there was one already existing, or one I didn’t already know about.

“I researched into that and I couldn’t provide proof of one pre-existing, which I was quite shocked at. So I obviously jumped at the opportunity to do that because she is such a great figure and such an important part of Glasgow’s history. It was a really good opportunity to do one and I hope I’ve done it justice. Hopefully it brings a bit more recognition around her work and her significance.”

One of the key figures in the emergence of the “Glasgow Style” of art, design and architecture in the 1890s along with her husband Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh was one of the most gifted and successful women artists in Scotland at the turn of the century.

Glasgow Times: Margaret Macdonald MackintoshMargaret Macdonald Mackintosh

Despite collaborating on many projects with her husband, primarily via the production of panels for interiors and furniture – notably for the tea rooms and Hill House – Margaret’s contribution is often less acknowledged, and is often confined to the historic role of Rennie Mackintosh’s “talented other half”.

This, despite Charles Rennie Mackintosh famously admitting himself that he owed much of his own success to his wife’s influence, stating in a letter that: “You must remember that in all of my architectural efforts, you have been the half, if not three quarters, of them”. Hankinson’s work celebrates women and marginalised communities through a feminist lens.

Through her portrait, Molly is celebrating one of Glasgow’s many notable women from history who haven’t been afforded their own space, which she believes was symbolic of the period she lived in.

She added: “I think definitely more understanding around her work and how significant her work was in the emergence of the ‘Glasgow Style’ is needed. “It’s about bringing woman who would traditionally have been overlooked into the limelight, because it’s the 21st century now, and I think there’s just so many women who fell by the wayside because they were married to men who, by default of the time, got more recognition than them, even though their contributions might have been quite similar."