Born in Glasgow, Mackintosh was apprenticed in 1884 to a local architect, John Hutchinson. He entered the office of Honeyman & Keppie in 1889, and there became friendly with a fellow draughtsman, J. Herbert MacNair. From about 1896 Mackintosh was designing furniture for Messrs Guthrie & Wells of Glasgow. In 1897 he won the competition to design the new Glasgow School of Art. In the same year Mackintosh received the first of the Cranston Tea Rooms commissions, working on the decoration of the Buchanan Street premises in collaboration with George Walton, who made some of his early furniture. In 1900 he participated by invitation in the Vienna Secession Exhibition, and he was responsible for the Scottish section at Turin in 1902. He married Margaret Macdonald in 1900. Important individual projects included Windyhill for Walter Blackie (1899), the Warndorfer Music Room (1902), Hill House (1903) and the second stage of the Glasgow School of Art (1906), as well as a number of commissions from the Misses Cranston. Mackintosh left Glasgow in 1914. Apart form one or two architectural projects, including work for W.J. Bassett-Lowke, he concentrated mainly on watercolour painting and textile designs for Foxton’s and Sefton’s. His designs were well illustrated in European periodicals.