Herbert MacNair

Painting, Visual Artist

1868 – 1955

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Who was Herbert MacNair?

James Herbert MacNair, was a Scottish artist, designer and teacher whose work contributed to the development of the "Glasgow Style" during the 1890s.

Born in Glasgow into a military family, MacNair trained as an architect with the Glasgow firm of Honeyman and Keppie from 1888 to 1895, and it was there that he first met Charles Rennie Mackintosh. As part of their training, the two attended evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art between 1888 and 1894, and it was there that they met the MacDonald sisters, Margaret and Frances. MacNair would go on to marry Frances, and Mackintosh would marry Margaret.

All four later became the loose collective of the Glasgow School known as "The Four", MacNair being the least well known. Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, and other European movements such as Symbolism and Art Nouveau, they pioneered the Glasgow Style. MacNair set up his own studio in Glasgow in 1895, where he worked as a designer producing furniture, book illustrations, water colours and posters. MacNair's artistic merits have often been compared unfavourably to those of Mackintosh, but he had significant influence as a teacher following his move to Liverpool in 1898 and appointment as Instructor in Design at the School of Architecture and Applied Art.

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Dec 23, 1868
Also known as
  • James Herbert McNair
  • Herbert McNair
  • Glasgow School of Art
Lived in
  • Glasgow
Apr 22, 1955

on July 23, 2013


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