Trail 1. Port-VendresTrail 2Trail 3Trail 4Trail 5
  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    1. Port-Vendres



    In Mackintosh's day, Port Vendres was the main ferry port for French North Africa. The train arrived on the quay next to the passenger terminal, and this is where the Mackintoshes would have arrived in the Autumn of 1926.




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  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    1. Port-Vendres




    The painting "Port Vendres" is reproduced on the right, just before the road stops at the end of the harbour.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    1. Port-Vendres




    It was painted from the hillside above where you can see the rock on which Mackintosh probably sat.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    1. Port-Vendres

    Private Collection



    He has increased the scale and height of the fort and its base and has omitted the mountains behind, to silhouette the fort and the town against a blue sky.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    2. The Fort Mailly




    This appears to be a combination of two positions – low down near the telephone pole for the rocks and higher up for the building.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    2. The Fort Mailly





    Fort Mailly is now a ruin. It was dynamited by the Germans before their retreat in 1944 but in Mackintosh's day it was still operational as an army garrison.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    2. The Fort Mailly

    Glasgow School of Art


    It contrasts the faceted striations of the natural rock with the clean, white, man-made, almost modernist elevations of the fort. This was one of his last paintings in the spring of 1927.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    3. The Rock




    After the waterside restaurant (Le Poisson Rouge) a path follows the shoreline to the right, skirting the artillery tower of the Redoute Bear. On your right is "The Rock".

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    3. The Rock




    The geology has been simplified into bold patterns. The foreground suggests a sandy shore where none existed.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    3. The Rock

    Private Collection

    In the background is Port Vendres with the subject of the "Rue du Soleil" on the left and "The Little Bay" on the right. This was painted at the same time as he was working on The Fort Mailly.

    "The Rock has some green and now I see that instead of painting this first, I should have painted the great grey rock first then I would probably have had no emerald green."

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    4. The Road Through the Rocks



    Continue along the coastal path and on the bend, just below the Redoute, you will find the reproduction of "The Road Through the Rocks".

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    4. The Road Through the Rocks

    Private Collection


    This is probably Mackintosh's earliest surviving picture of the fort. The rocks, the hills and the cuttings create a dynamic natural mass round the low slung man-made structure of the half subterranean fort.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    5. The Fort



    Rejoin the road from the tunnel and take the road opposite – The Chemin du Cap Béar. This will take you to a vantage point where you look down on the "Road Through the Rocks", the Fort and the restaurant on the beach.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    5. The Fort

    Hunterian Art Gallery,
    University of Glasgow


    Mackintosh brought the lighthouse round from the other side of the Harbour and placed it on a rocky islet with a view of the distant coast beyond.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    6. The Lighthouse


    Follow the path round and before you rejoin the road, after the second tunnel, you will see on your right a lower path.

    It was from here that he painted "The Lighthouse", another early painting.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    6. The Lighthouse

    Private Collection


    Mackintosh has moved the lighthouse round to close the gap at the harbour mouth.

    Mackintosh was fairly dismissive of this painting. "Isn't it funny how much unknowing people like 'The Lighthouse'. I assure you... it is fairly bad art."

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    7. La Rue du Soleil



    Retrace your steps to the start of the Chemin du Cap Béar and turn left towards Port Vendres.

    On your right, you will come to what is left of the Tamarind Trees – in Mackintosh's day more extensive and lining a popular swimming beach.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    7. La Rue du Soleil




    From within what is now the Port du Commerce he painted "La Rue du Soleil" but as the docks are closed to the public, the reproduction is at the dock gates.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    7. La Rue du Soleil

    Hunterian Art Gallery,
    University of Glasgow


    His treatment of the reflections in the sea perhaps reflects the influence of his friend Gustav Klimt.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    8. A Southern Port



    Continue back to the head of the Harbour – the Quai Joli. The car park is the site of the original ferry terminal for North Africa. The quays and the terminal were also blown up by the retreating Germans at the end of the Second World War.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    8. A Southern Port



    The present terminal was built on the site of the Presqu'ile - in Mackintosh's day a fortification with a clock tower which was subsequently moved and is now behind the Quai des Douanes.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    8. A Southern Port

    Glasgow Museums
    Kelvingrove Art Gallery
    and Museum

    You can see how it looked in the reproduction "A Southern Port" outside the Tourist Office which was painted from Mackintosh's balcony at the Hôtel du Commerce "The Harbour breathes and you feel her rising and falling with every breath. The harbour is alive."

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    The Hotel du Commerce has now been converted into flats and the café on the ground floor is the Banque Populaire. A bronze relief of Mackintosh by the British sculptress Jane Robbins is on the wall.


  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    9. Port Vendres - Quai des Douanes




    From his balcony Mackintosh painted several other paintings. "Port Vendres" is reproduced on the corner.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    9. Port Vendres - Quai des Douanes

    The British Museum
    London

    It is a view across the harbour to what were then warehouses for the North African trade – wine in the building on the left, wood in the middle and livestock on the right. The single storey customs building today has an additional second floor. Again the painting features the reflections.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    10. Steamer Moored at Quayside



    On the opposite corner is "Steamer Moored at Quayside" which with three other similar studies was done from the hotel balcony.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    10. Steamer Moored at Quayside

    Hunterian Art Gallery,
    University of Glasgow

    These are completely different in style and subject matter. Normally he first drew with a pencil, but these are drawn freely with a brush and three of them are on thin tracing paper that Mackintosh used for writing letters.

    Two of them include figures. They are unsigned. Were they a one-off experiment? Or were they painted by a friend and left behind? They remain a mystery.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    11. La Ville


    Carry on along the quay to the fishing harbour and walk up the hill to The Dome – above the Place Vendome.

    Walk though the garden and you will find Interpretation Centre #2 (see centres) which puts the Mackintoshes' life on the coast within a context of period photographs and archival films of Port Vendres and Collioure as they were then.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    11. La Ville



    On leaving the The Dome, walk down to the Church. Take the upper road – la Rue du Soleil. This is Port Vendres' oldest street, built to house the merchants who traded in the buildings of the Place Vendome.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    11. La Ville



    Halfway along you will find the reproduction of "La Ville", painted from the hill behind the houses. To get the full sweep of the houses it is painted from two different positions.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    11. La Ville

    Glasgow Museums
    Kelvingrove Art Gallery
    and Museum

    Again there is a use of stylised reflections and the hills in the background are heightened and exaggerated to give a feeling of "this lovely rose coloured land".

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    12. The Little Bay


    Carry on along the rue du Soleil, descend back down to the Quay and follow it as far as you can go. Here you will find a staircase leading up to the street above.

    This was Mackintosh's vantage point for "The Little Bay". The reproduction is sited at the top of the staircase.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    12. The Little Bay

    Hunterian Art Gallery,
    University of Glasgow

    It is full of geometric patterns and stylised frozen ripples. In the background is part of the Presqu'ile fortifications which stood on the far side of the Harbour, now the site of the old Passenger Terminal, with an exaggerated impression of the town in the background.

    The staircase with the railing is still there and the bollard is one of a number of recycled upended cannons which you can find in Port Vendres. Mackintosh forgot to sign this painting and eventually only did so on his deathbed.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    13. Fort de la Mauresque



    Return down the Rue du Soleil to pass the Church and right up the Rampe de l'Observatoire. This is a long climb but worth the effort.

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    13. Fort de la Mauresque



    Take the second left (Rue de la Liberté), second right up the Rampe de 'Avenir, first left rue Michel and first right Chemin de Mauresque which you follow to the clifftop where there are the remains of the "Fort de la Mauresque".

  • Trail 1. Port-Vendres

    13. Fort de la Mauresque

    Untraced

    To improve the composition, Mackintosh introduced the view of the harbour breakwater.

    This Fort was also destroyed by the Germans and Mackintosh's painting is currently lost. Due to persistent vandalism the reproduction panel has been destroyed and may not be replaced.



    Continue to Trail 2