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The Quest for Charles Rennie Mackintosh Paperback – 1 Jul 2007
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Makes for grand reading and for a stronger sense of the man than can be found in most of the more scholarly tomes. - The Sunday Herald (refers to the hardback edition)
Charles Rennie Mackintosh can be described as the greatest-ever Scottish architect, a water colourist of genius or a capricious interior designer with a flair for unstable furniture. He is all of these things, but he is also an enigma - an almost impenetrable figure in the history of Scottish art and architecture. John Cairney tells of the working life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh as well as the beautiful love story which tragically ended with his sudden death at the age of 60.See all Product description
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So I was really looking forward to it - but, oh dear, it's hard to read. There's a lot of facts in here and the writer clearly has done a lot of research. But, despite being relatively slim, it's about 30% padding. In parts it's a case of why use 10 words when 30 will do? And that's apart from pages and pages at the end of notes, reference material and index. The actual text is 252 pages.
It promises to show the real CRM but there's an awful lot of times when the author speculates on what MIGHT have been said or MAY have happened - and that just drove me nuts. If you don't have the courage to state it in firmer terms then don't bother. I might as well say "it's entirely possible that CRM was there at the moon landing".
There are a few b/w photos in the middle but they are very faint and the book dimensions are small (5" x 8") so you don't get a good look at his designs. Which is a problem as the book often wanders off into describing things (in flowery language) that, if you can't actually see the item, just drones on and on.
As it happens I've got a large coffee-table book that is full of colour photos and so I stopped from time to time and switched to that to look at what was actually being talked about, to get a sense of why it was being lauded as so great.
And around page 150-ish there's a random page stuffed in that is out of sequence.
I hope the author appreciates that this review is very much through disappointment. I've been trying to finish this book (I'm about 50 pages away) for a couple of weeks and this is someone who can read a 500 page book in a single day. I wanted to love, I wanted to get to know the real Toshie....but I'm really disappointed.