5 Blythswood Square, Glasgow.Five minutes from The Willow Tearooms and just around the corner from the Mackintoshes first marital home 5 Blythswood Square, Glasgow a fine Georgian house – was occupied for 88 years until 1971 by The Glasgow Society of Lady Artists Club.In 1907 the Decoration Committee of the Club engaged Charles Rennie Mackintosh to redecorate the entrance hall and staircase of the building, describing him ‘as being practically the only person in Glasgow capable of doing so in the manner proposed’. The minutes of the Club Council reveal a troubled sequence of events following and reading between the lines one may detect that not all of the Lady Artists were happy with what happened subsequently. Suffice to say that the work was more expensive and not completed as expected.The building until recently was used as serviced office accommodation but is no ordinary office block. The majority of the surrounding buildings, in what is one of Glasgow City’s most elegant squares, retain only their Georgian facades with modern structures behind. No 5, however, is the real deal with a stunning collection of original rooms adorned by magnificent period details and features; a legacy of the lady aesthetes who for all those years occupied the spaces. The remarkable condition of the house today is due in no small measure to the painstaking and dedicated restoration by the former owners. One, Douglas, formerly a Governor of the Glasgow School of Art ( GSA), personally restored the Mackintosh front door under the beady eye of passing locals who would question him to make sure he knew how important the door was and who designed it. The door casing is rich in hand carved detailing. A neo-classical style pediment tops fluted, square pilasters that are inset with looped ribbon-like reliefs. Similar decoration featured in other Mackintosh buildings including the Boardroom and Library of the GSA ( both rooms now sadly lost to fire ). Both the door and side lights incorporate the Japanese-influenced square gridded glazing seen again from Mackintosh at 78 Derngate Northampton eight years later. The beautiful proportions of the door casing, which stands proud of the building facade, give it presence in the terrace and within the Square; an architectural effect used again at Derngate, where what might have seemed a risky, incongruous insertion animates and elevates an otherwise regular Georgian frontage.5 Blythswood Square, Glasgow. Entrance Hall.Passing through the doorway into the light filled lobby ( a benefit of all that south facing glass ) one is in a hybrid space. A grand nineteenth century staircase, top-lit three storeys above from the original restored cupola, sweeps down to meet Mackintosh’s dark, wood panelled entrance with that sense of enclosure and embrace seen time and again in other hallways by Mackintosh such as that of The Hill House.Telephone kiosk, 5 Blythswood Square.The glazing grid reappears in the now quirky, (but in 1908 state of the art), telephone kiosk built in under the Georgian staircase. Had the Northampton residence been on a grander scale we might very well expect to find something similar there; certainly it would not look out of place. The door of the kiosk is enlivened with an understated polished copper fingerplate. I could not resist the temptation to step inside this ‘Mackintosh Tardis’ which would have afforded the lady artists sufficient telephonic privacy whilst allowing borrowed daylight for note taking. It perhaps remains the only Mackintosh-designed telephone kiosk in the world. The view from inside the telephone kiosk, 5 Blythswood Square.To my great delight my hosts kindly made the time to give me a full tour of the building extending even to the modern, sumptuously appointed ladies loo. The building was not open to the public ( though the Mackintosh door was visible from the street ) – it was therefore a great privilege to see the interiors and to have the chance to take photographs to share.My sincere thanks now as then to Stella and Douglas for their warm hospitality and congratulations on preserving this lovely lesser known example of Mackintosh heritage.5 Blythswood Square details. Update: November 2023. At the time of writing 5 Blythswood Square is unoccupied and listed for sale. Some concern has been expressed online about the security and safety of the building with reports of open windows seen. Our Facebook correspondent Cathy Linney very kindly visited on the 7th November and sent this up to date photo of the entrance.5 Blythswood Square. November 2023. Photo: Cathy Linney Related links The Glasgow Society of Women Artists – a ( 1975 – founded ) revival of The Glasgow Society of Lady Artists Club. Historic Environment Scotland – details of Listing for 5 Blythswood Square and adjacent buildings along with further information about Mackintosh. Google Streetview visit to 5 Blythswood Square.