It was among 20 lots consigned by Jacqueline Loewe Fowler, a well-known US collector of costume and British and American decorative arts. The estimate was $100,000-150,000 and the resulting price the highest for Mackintosh for many years.
This chair is one of only two made to this lattice work design created by Mackintosh for Miss Cranston, as part of the redecoration of Hous’hill in Nitshill, Glasgow in 1904.
Cranston had already emerged as the designer’s most important patron: his fourth tea-room commission for her, the Willow Tea Rooms, had recently opened.
A photograph of the chairs in situ in the White Bedroom appeared in The Studio Year-Book of Decorative Art, 1907. Cranston sold Hous’hill and its contents in 1920 with the Mackintosh furniture dispersed by Glasgow auctioneer J&R Edmonton on May 13, 1933. The house, badly damaged by a fire, was subsequently demolished in 1937.
This chair, accompanied by a copy of an original 1933 bill of sale, was last on the market in November 2001 when it was offered at Christie’s King Street. It was later pictured in Roger Billcliffe’s 2009 catalogue Charles Rennie Mackintosh, The Complete Furniture, Furniture Drawings & Interior Designs.
The only other White Bedroom chair is in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
The Important Design sale on June 6 was led by eight verre églomisé panels from The Birth of Aphrodite mural which decorated the grand salon of the SS Normandie luxury liner. The property of the Forbes collection, they sold for $1,150,000 (£855,500).
The buyer’s premium at Sotheby's was 25/20/12%.