Tuesday 21st March 2017 was the 100th anniversary of the marriage of Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke and Florence Jane Jones at Abington Avenue Congregrational Church. After a four day honeymoon in Bournemouth they returned to begin their married life at 78 Derngate, Northampton.
Exactly 100 years later the doors were thrown open to welcome Friends, supporters and visitors from all quarters in celebration of the historic anniversary. We were delighted to offer celebratory drinks, wedding cake, shop discounts and the opportunity to view our Centenary Exhibition, “Charles Rennie Mackintosh & The Great War”. Film footage of the 1917 wedding was rolling and many visitors posed on the famous doorstep of no 78 for commemorative photos which are now included in our special Centenary Day Album.
We were delighted to welcome The Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Christopher Malpas and Lady Mayoress Mrs Lynn Malpas to the opening of our Centenary Exhibition, "Charles Rennie Mackintosh & The Great War" on 31st January.
The Mayor and Mayoress were given a tour of the exhibition by Curator, David Walsh. With its focus on Mackintosh's later career around the period of the First World War, visitors to the exhibition will have a unique opportunity to understand in greater depth the context of 78 Derngate. The three month run will see the largest display of Mackintosh design in England.
We had great pleasure in also showing the Mayoral party around 78 Derngate for their first visit to the house.
July 31st is a landmark date in the history of 78 Derngate. It was on this day in 1916, 100 years ago, that W.J. Bassett-Lowke got the keys to his new house and wrote a letter to Mackintosh. According to his niece Janet, this was his first letter to Mackintosh and survives in part at The Hunterian in Glasgow. It is a response to earlier letters and drawings from Mackintosh. It starts, “Dear Mr Mackintosh, Many thanks for yours of the 28th inst., and 29th, all the drawings have safely arrived and the work is in hand. I have obtained possession of the house today and my friends are commencing the work…” The letter is incomplete but discusses width and type of carpet and an interesting issue of a curtain, ‘……I am still in doubts as to whether we are doing right by having a curtain across the hall, I still think it would be better if you design a screen for the floor, say about 3ft long and 7ft high and about 6 (text too faint to read here) back and re hang the door so that it opens back against the wall.”
To mark this historic day we are releasing a never-before published photograph discovered in our archives by Chris Sanderson who was recently doing some research. The photo is a lovely composition showing W.J Bassett-Lowke in a view of the back garden of 78 Derngate, probably about 1925. It features Wynne and who we assume to be his three nieces, June, Vivian and Janet with their mother.
The Friends of 78 Derngate celebrated this historic occasion on 31/7/16 - here’s a link to an informal live video we shared with our followers.
A 27metre-long mural detailing the history and culture of Northampton and Northamptonshire has been installed at Northampton’s new railway station.
The mural shows a timeline of events from ancient times to the 21st century and includes a section devoted to the town’s Cultural Quarter. Photographs of 78 Derngate, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Mr and Mrs Bassett-Lowke feature alongside information about The Royal Theatre and Bassett-Lowke’s model engineering fame. Even more prominent will be Bassett-Lowke’s appearance on one of 10 new banners, each of which is dedicated to a figure who has helped shape the identity of the County of Northamptonshire. Mr Bassett-Lowke keeps company with, amongst others, Francis Crick, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Walter Tull, John Clare, Elizabeth Woodville and King John.
Today, The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House - 78 Derngate, Northampton has received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, “78 Derngate: WW1 icon”, in Northampton. Supported by volunteers from the local community, the project focuses on the late career of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Britain during and after The First World War period. A special exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mackintosh's work in Northampton will open in February 2017.
The project will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the remodelling, during WW1, of 78 Derngate, Northampton by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his client, renowned model engineer, W.J Bassett-Lowke. A special three month exhibition – scheduled to open in February 2017 and produced in conjunction with a team of local volunteers will tell the story of Mackintosh's late career in Britain. This will be an opportunity for 78 Derngate staff and volunteers to share with the local community and beyond, the fascinating story surrounding Mackintosh's work in Northampton where he was to design the only house in England in his distinctive style. The project team will carry out research, organise events and produce publications to complement the exhibition; there will be opportunities for new skills and new insights for everyone involved – both visitors to the exhibition and those who produce it.
Exhibition visitors will have the opportunity to see stunning, little known designs by Mackintosh and be able to discover more about his work during WW1, the circumstances in which he worked and to learn more about how The Great War affected him. A linked programme of events will give opportunities for deeper involvement and a website will give access to an exhibition archive for years to come.
Commenting on the award, David Walsh, project Curator said: “We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. We're all looking forward to an unforgettable celebration of Mackintosh's great gift to Northampton, 78 Derngate. People often describe the house as a 'hidden treasure' – it's far too fantastic to be hidden, everyone needs to see it and we hope that this celebratory exhibition will help attract more visitors than ever before. If you think you know Mackintosh's work – this exhibition may hold some surprises for you!"
78 Derngate is dressed for the Season. Visitors to the house this month can enjoy a glimpse of an Edwardian Christmas with the interior of the Mackintosh house decked out in style with Christmas tree, cards and all the trimmings. A visit at dusk is especially magical with the glow from Mackintosh’s lighting creating added sparkle and drama.
In our shop we’ve a full selection of fabulous and unusual gifts for everyone; many now also available online too - so even if you can’t make it to Northampton this Christmas, you can still enjoy a little Mackintosh magic by post.
We’re open up to and including 20th December and, until then, we’ve a super Christmas offer for all purchases from our shop and online.
Jeeves and Wooster - who were appearing earlier this month at Royal & Derngate - were at 78 Derngate bringing their unique brand of perfect nonsense, dry wit and general confusion. Bertie ended up in the bath, fully dressed - Jeeves was not amused. For further photos head over to our Facebook. [ Pictured: actors Joseph Chance and Matthew Carter ]
We're delighted to have passed 5000 Twitter followers. This, and our Facebook audience places 78 Derngate amongst the leading group of social media sources for interest in and information about Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It is testament to the tremendous support we receive from visitors to and wider fans of 78 Derngate and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. If you don't currently follow us on Twitter, we invite you to do so - breaking news from the Mackintosh world, art and design, history and future trends - it's all there, and a little different to our Facebook feed.
Thankyou to all our lovely supporters both on Twitter and Facebook. We appreciate your continued support for 78 Derngate. Good things lie ahead!
We were glad, recently, to welcome Roger Billcliffe to 78 Derngate. Roger is the world's leading authority on Charles Rennie Mackintosh's furniture and the author of the definitive work on the subject. We were honoured in 2012 when he declared that 78 Derngate "sets the bar high for other owners of Mackintosh buildings" and commended the restoration of the house. We stock Roger's latest Mackintosh title, 'Visiting Charles Rennie Mackintosh' - which is a super guide to all major Mackintosh sites for visitors. It can also be purchased online from his website.
Antiques Roadshow legend and Patron of 78 Derngate Eric Knowles was in the house today. We invited him back to reshoot our tour video. The original was shot 10 years ago and needed updating. Eric filmed in the kitchen, dining room, hall/lounge, guest bedroom and at the rear of the house. He was in fine spirit and is still emphatic about 78 Derngate being an extraordinary house. Eric is a good friend to 78 Derngate, mentioning us often when he lectures. Visitors will be able to see the new video at the start or end of their tour. Video production by J motion.
A new exhibition at The Royal Academy from The 20th Century Society will feature 78 Derngate representing the year 1919. There will also be a related book too which will be published on 6th November.
The Twentieth Century Society protects outstanding architecture and design dating from 1914 onwards, so in 2014 it is marking 100 years of buildings under its protection. This book showcases photographs of 100 buildings - one for each year from 1914 - representing the range and quality of work the Society protects and the amazing range of fascinating buildings we have in Britain. Each photograph is accompanied by information about the building, including why it stands out in a 100 years of architecture. Authors include noted experts in the fields of architecture, heritage and design.