Sunday, 29 November 2015

Larkspur, August 1914, Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Can you spot the tiny birds hidden in the painting? This is one of the flower paintings made by architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh when he was down on his luck and staying on the Suffolk coast in 1914/15, only to find himself suspected by the locals of being a German spy.
Esther Freud has a house in Walberswick, which was once the pub where Mackintosh lodged. She fancied she saw the ghost of a young boy there and imagined he was the landlord's son, who developed an unlikely friendship with the artist. And this became the basis for her novel Mr Mac and Me ... which unfortunately turned out to be quite a tedious read. Sorry. (But that's the bookgroup 'homework' done for another month.)

The White Rose and the Red Rose 

CRM thought that his wife Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh was the genius, but she's far too fey and fanciful for my taste.


Anonymous said...

Thank goodness, another reader who didn't think much of Mr Mac and Me.
It was full of anachronisms and totally unbelievable. Nice cover!

mary said...

It did have a nice cover, didn't it? Best thing about it, unfortunately.

Toffeeapple said...

I agree with you both!

But you cannot deny his talent can you?

Toffeeapple said...

I have just spotted the birds!

mary said...

Toffeeapple, there's supposed to be birds in all of the flower paintings from that time - but some are quite hard to spot, and some defeated me entirely. And, no, of course I wouldn't deny his talent - so sad about School of Art fire, and I was so glad I once had the chance to visit.

Rosemary said...

It's a disappointing book which sadly did not live up to my expectations - Ann Patchett says it is "A compelling tale beautifully told...As close to a perfect novel as anything I've read in a long time. I loved every page of it'
I, on the other hand am finding the last 10 pages a struggle to finish!
I am pleased that you showed one of the paintings with the hidden birds, I wondered if that was a bit more of Esther Freud's vivid imagination.

mary said...

Compelling was not the word I'd have used, Rosemary - I could have happily abandoned it very early on.
I can see birds in some of the paintings - but you'd go crosseyed trying to find them in others.