Rennie Mackintosh watercolour secured for the nation in £65,000 purchase

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An “outstanding” rare watercolour by artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh has been secured for the nation.

The National Galleries of Scotland bought the painting, entitled The Road Through the Rocks, for £65,000 at Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull.

The new acquisition is going on show at the Scottish National Gallery this month as part of celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the artist’s birth.

The work depicts a view of a southern French landscape and was painted between 1926 and 1927.

It will be displayed alongside Mont Alba, the galleries’ only other Mackintosh watercolour, and three Mackintosh paintings currently on long loan to the galleries.

The display will run until mid-January next year.

Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “Mackintosh is one of the greatest of all Scotland’s artists and architects, and this is a very refined and beautifully composed watercolour which demonstrates his sophisticated engagement with European landscapes.

“It is especially pleasing that it has been possible to secure such a rare work in good condition for the national collection in time for all the celebrations that will mark the 150th anniversary of his birth.”

The Road Through the Rocks was exhibited at the Mackintosh memorial exhibition in Glasgow in 1933 and was later in the collection of Professor Thomas Howarth, an eminent Mackintosh scholar and collector, experts said.

The acquisition was partly-funded by the James Cowan Smith Bequest Fund.

He bequeathed £55,000 to the Scottish National Gallery in 1919, with the intention that the interest on the money be used to purchase works of art.

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