The influence of the Arts & Crafts movement is apparent in Mackintoshâ€™s sculptural use of metal. The asymmetry of these â€˜window-stopsâ€™ emphasizes their hand-made nature: none of the ornamentations (there are four total) is identical to any of the others.
In these window fittings at the Hill House, we see an elegant example of Charles Rennie Mackintoshâ€™s desire to combine decoration and function. Each of the wrought iron fixtures is comprised of three simple elements: the â€œbase,â€? the â€œscroll,â€? and the â€œspring.â€? The thickest band of metal serves as the objectâ€™s base; this piece curves in plan away from the wall of the house, mirroring the gradual arc of the main bedroom window situated immediately above. (See image below.) The purely decorative scrolls take on a plant-like quality, growing vertically from the end of the flat â€˜baseâ€™ piece; Mackintosh uses a plant motif throughout the interior, which seems particularly appropriate here, given that this window faces directly out toward the garden. Finally, a thinner band of iron curves in three dimensions (both in plan and in elevation), seeming to lift off from the base piece as it travels out from the wall.
This ground-floor window is located across from the sitting room fireplace and beneath the main bedroom window. The gradual curvature of the bedroom window is repeated in the form of the window fittings.
Painted to match the exterior trim, these fixtures are designed to keep the windows open to the desired angle. As a window swings open, the thinner band of iron compresses downward like a spring; presumably, the pressure exerted on the underside of the window frame would prop the hinged windows in place. Mackintosh adorns the inside of the Hill House with other purpose-built decorations, including gracefully curved hooks for fire irons (which flank the sitting room fireplace), the lamp above the bedroom mirror, and numerous pieces of site-specific furniture. But Mackintosh seems to have a particular fascination with the functionality of windows. Ashleyâ€™s detail for this assignment (also from the Hill House) is another decorative, but practical, mechanism for propping a window open. The image below, of a window in the Church at Queenâ€™s Cross, shows one more Mackintosh-designed casement. Each of these windows is revelatory of Mackintosh’s ever-present aim as a designer: to create beauty and function simultaneously, by attending to every imaginable detail.
Arguably less â€˜decorativeâ€™ than the examples at the Hill House, this window keeps rainwater from entering the building, even when it is open. The window opens toward the interior of the church; the wedge-shaped glass panes within the iron frames prevent water from blowing or splashing inside.