Mackintosh Tea Table

Art Nouveau meets Arts & Crafts in this oval-topped piece.

by Michael Crow
pages 55-60

Although he died in poverty, the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s furniture now sells for tens of thousands of dollars at auction. Part of the appeal of his work comes from the sheer variety of his designs, which range in style from Art Nouveau to Arts & Crafts to Modern. Mackintosh first designed this tea table as part of a renovation commissioned by the ship owner Robert James Rowat in about 1901. Another copy of the table featured in exhibitions in Turin and Moscow in 1902. In the pre-television era, the tea table provided a place for conversation over drinks and food. Typically lower than a dining table, it fosters an intimate atmosphere.

This design is one of several variations on an elliptical table Mackintosh designed in the early 1900s and marks a transition from the stylized organic forms featured in his Art Nouveau-inspired work to the minimalist geometric forms of his later designs. The table features an elliptical top over a base formed by a shelf and four slab legs, with the legs turned so that they appear to follow the shape of the top. Echoing the top’s oval shape, the ovoid cutouts in the legs capture stylized leaves. The legs are dadoed to capture the shelf, and half-blind dovetails join the stretchers to the legs.

Patterns: Download full-size patterns for the leg cutouts, top and shelf. (To come)
Model: Get the free SketchUp model from our 3D Warehouse.
Website: Visit the author’s website at 1910craftsman.com.
Article: Read Michael Crow’s Mid-Century Bookcase article. (To come.)
To buy: Michael Crow’s videos: “Building Techniques in Mid-Century Modern Furniture” and “Step-by-Step Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table.”
In Our Store: Michael Crow’s shop drawings books: “Mid-Century Modern Furniture” and “Building Arts & Crafts Furniture.”

From the October 2017 issue, #234