This is, for me a small brooch.  I usually go for more statement impactful designs.  But this little brooch has a pleasing design, and it came with matching earrings.  I do like a matching set.  I know these days it is seen as not on trend, but who wants to be a slave to the fashion gods!  The brooch is made of sliver with an overlay of gold wash and in the centre of the design there is a cabochon amethyst.  There are some tiny marks on the back and from these I think the set may have been made by Java Designs, a UK company set up in 2010 manufacturing silver items for the wholesale trade.  This would fit, as I bought the set from the online shop Museum Collection, started in 2002 and who work with 17 museums and galleries around the UK.  I describe the brooch as a Mackintosh Square, because it is based on the rose motif at Hill House at Helensburgh, northwest of Glasgow in Scotland.  Hill House was designed by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald.   In 1902 the wealthy Glasgow publisher, Walter Backie (1860 – 1953) commissioned the house, which was completed in 1904. The house was conceived as a family home for Walter and Anna and their five children and was lived in as a family home from 1904 to 1953 when Walter died.  From the outside the house looks like a baronial Scottish country house, but inside it tells a completely different story.

Exterior of Hill House, Helensburgh

Even by today’s standards it would be seen as modern with its clean and uncluttered lines and colours.  There are no Victorian or Edwardian frills and fuss.  The rooms are bathed in light.

The Drawing Room at Hill House

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in 1868, the son of a policeman, one of 11 children.  He became an architect’s apprentice in 1884.  In 1900 he married Margaret MacDonald (1864 – 1933) an accomplished artist and known for her decorative designs.  The pair, along with Margaret’s sister Frances and Herbert MacNair, became known as the Glasgow Four, prominent proponents of the ‘Glasgow Style’ exhibiting in Europe and influencing the Viennese Art Nouveau movement known as Secessionism.  Charles died in 1928 followed by Margaret five years later in 1933.  In 2008 Christie’s auction house sold Margaret MacDonald’s The White Rose and the Red Rose (1902) for £1,700,000.

The White Rose and the Red Rose (1902) by Margaret MacDonald

Charles Rennie Mackintosh is featured on the Clydesdale £100 bank note, first produced in 2009

£100 bank note featuring Charles Rennie Mackintosh
The Willow Tea Room, Glasgow

If you would like to have a little taste of the Mackintosh style I recommend a visit to the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow where you can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea in unique surroundings.