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£1million desk and chair on display

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Mackintosh-writing_deskA STUNNING writing desk and its high-backed chair are on display together in Hill House in Helensburgh for the first time for decades — but only until the end of October.

The desk, worth at least £1 million, was designed in 1904 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Walter Blackie, the mansion’s owner, and is made from ebonised oak decorated with mother of pearl.  

It is the first time for decades the two items of furniture have been on show together.

Hill House property manager Lorna Hepburn said: “Mrs Blackie sat at this desk to write letters to family and friends, reply to social invitations and deal with any business concerning any charities that she was involved with.

 Mackintosh-desk-detail“The custom in the early 20th century was for the lady of the house to deal with her correspondence in the morning.

“Seeing these stunning pieces in pride of place in the drawing room is a great treat, and we look forward to sharing this with our visitors throughout the coming months.”

The desk was bought by Glasgow Museums and the National Trust for Scotland in 2005 for just under £1million, making it the world’s most expensive piece of 20th century furniture. In 1994 it was sold for a then world record £793,500.

It is brought to Hill House from Kelvingrove Museum from time to time, but the chair belongs to Glasgow Museums, and this is its first return to Hill House since the Trust took over in 1982.

Hill House in Upper Colquhoun Street is open daily from 1.30-5.30pm until October 31.

  • Images supplied by and reproduced with permission from the National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 April 2012 10:47 )  

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First Winter Open Meeting

Melissa-Simpson-wA new series of six Winter Open Meetings will begin on Wednesday September 30 at Helensburgh Tennis Club in Suffolk Street at 7.30pm, when Melissa Simpson will talk on 'Hermitage Park: past, present and future'.

Winter Talks 2015-16

  • Wednesday September 30 2015 — Melissa Simpson: Hermitage Park: past, present and future
  • Wednesday October 28 — AGM at 7pm; Fraser Noble of McGruers: My family has been building boats since the 11th Century
  • Wednesday November 25 — Sir Malcolm Colquhoun and James Pearson: The Clan Colquhoun and the History of Helensburgh (to be held in the Loch Lomond Golf Club at Luss)

  • Wednesday January 27 2016 — Lachie Munro: The Many Lives of Robert Bontine Cunningham Graham — the Uncrowned King of Scotland
  • Wednesday February 24 — Sue Furness, Fiona Jackson: Hidden Heritage of a Landscape — Vengeful Vikings and Reckless Rustlers
  • Wednesday March 30 — Fiona Baker: Boutcher's Banks — the Genesis of Helensburgh?

Meetings are normally in the upstairs room at Helensburgh Tennis Club, Suffolk Street, at 7.30pm.

Charity Number

Scottish Charity
SC024603