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Northern Italian Sketchbook

View all images from Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Northern Italian Sketchbook

Milan, Sant'Ambrogio, study of south elevation of easternmost bay of nave, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1891

The Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) toured Italy, France and Belgium in early 1891 as the recipient of the Alexander Thomson Travelling Scholarship.

He left Glasgow for London on 21 March 1891, sailing from Tilbury on the Thames on 27 March and arriving in Naples on 5 April. He then visited Palermo in Sicily, Rome, Orvieto, Siena, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Bologna, Ravenna, Ferrara, Venice, Padua, and Vicenza, arriving in Verona on 10 June 1891.

The Sketchbook contains drawings from the later part of Mackintosh's tour, beginning with Verona. It covers Verona (11-14 June); Mantua (14 June); Cremona (14-15 June); Brescia (16 June); Bergamo (17 June); Lecco (18 June); Cadenabbia and Lake Como (19-25 June); Como (26-27 June); Milan (28 June-6 July); Pavia (7 July-?); Certosa di Pavia ( probably several days around 12 July); Paris and Chateau d'Ecouen (late July?); Antwerp (late July?). It also contains several pages of designs for the Glasgow Art Club (1892-3) and the Glasgow Herald Building (1893-5).

The drawings themselves are almost all pencil sketches, some of which are now quite faint. The website reflects their current condition.

Drawing of Glasgow Herald Building, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, c. 1893-5

The project is based on research undertaken on site in Italy, France, Belgium and Glasgow, locating and photographing, where possible, the sources for Mackintosh's drawings.

The drawings can be searched on VADS and are also available via the project website at:


The database has been compiled by George Rawson and David Buri and designed by Mick Eadie. Research was carried out by George Rawson (Italy) and Elaine Grogan (France and Belgium); captions and notes are by George Rawson; on-site photographs are by George Rawson and David Buri (Italy and Glasgow) and Elaine Grogan (Antwerp). The research was part-funded by Glasgow School of Art and the creation of the database was financed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Contact Details

For information regarding the Northern Italian sketchbook project, please contact David Buri, Architecture and Design Librarian at Glasgow School of Art. Email:

We are particularly interested in hearing from users of this website who may be able to identify the sources for Mackintosh's untraced sketches. These sketches can be found on the website by using the search term 'untraced'.

Modern photo of gates at Lake Como, Campo, Villa del Balbiano Lake Como, Campo, Villa del Balbiano, studies of gates, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1891

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