The Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Roussillon Association carried out a day of study in Haut Conflent
Mont Louis La Llagone Fetges

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Roussillon Association carried out a day of study in Haut Conflent

One of the objectives of the association is the renovation of the  Mackintosh Way.

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 Le chemin de Mackintosh

The purpose of this day was to identify the signs of the Way (installed on “chairs”) that were placed by the association around the communes of Mont-Louis, Fedges and La Llagonne about ten years ago and to make an assessment of their condition.

These communes are located in Occitanie in the Pyrénées Orientales department in the Haut Conflent region.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife stayed in this area in the years 1925-1926

repérage et relevé GPS des chaises 26 et 27 Mont-Louis

 

The GPS coordinates of each chair have been recorded in order to locate them accurately and then to later generate QR codes that will be printed on each new panel.

By scanning them with a smartphone, these QR codes will allow a link to the page of the association’s website describing them.

During this day, many useful contacts were made with public authorities (town hall, tourist office, community of Municipalities) who could then participate in the renovation of the signs on the Wayh and better publicise the association and its goals.

A total of 10 watercolours painted by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the years 1924-1926 are listed in this area :

Three in La Llagonne

  • The village of La Llagonne (28)
  • The Church of La Llagonne (29)
  • Poor Man’s Village (30)

Four in the immediate vicinity of Mont-Louis

  • Fetges (24)
  • Slate Roofs (25)
  • Mountain Landscape (26)
  • Village in the Mountains (27)

Two in Fetges

  • A Mountain Village (22)
  • The Boulders (23)

The weather was mild for the 5 association participants on the day, October 5th 2021.

No rain and a temperature around 8֯ C on arrival in Mont-Louis (altitude 1800 meters), no wind.

There was an early morning departure by car from Port-Vendres in the direction of Mont-Louis.

First Stage: La Llagonne

Vue aérienne de La Llagonne. Au fond le Cambre d'Aze.

This charming rural commune is part of the Capcir Haut Conflent community of communes and is home to about 200 inhabitants.The old town is dominated by two historical monuments perched on the top of a hill :

  • The church of Saint Vincent and the Capil tower
  • An old watchtower built in 1267 to prevent French invasions when Roussillon was part of the Crown of Aragon.

The tower is currently in ruins.

La mairie office de tourisme de La Llagonne et la chaise

 

 

 

Chair 29 The church of La Llagonne is located in front of the Town Hall/post office/tourist office

Rect du panneau de la chaise 29 " The church of Llagonne"

 

This watercolour represents the south side of the village which Charles Rennie Mackintosh represented as the top of the hill, on the right the church of Saint Vincent and on the left the Capil tower;

in the centre (on the slope of the hill) many typical houses of the region, finally in the foreground below, a field with two poplars.

Vue actuelle de la chaise 29 FT le 05102021

 

The view we have now has changed a lot. Many trees have grown, partly hiding the church and some houses have been destroyed, others renovated.

We had a very good welcome from the attendant of the Mairie who knew the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh well. He showed us the address of the intercommunal tourist office of the Communauté de Communes of the Catalan Pyrenees which is located in this municipality, outside on the road towards the Col de Quillane.

The team took advantage of this visit to introduce the association, drop off flyers and give information about the Mackintosh Way renovation project. It was also an opportunity to collect information about the commune for future use.

Following this visit, we decided to go directly to the Communauté de Communes.

Le bâtiment du point info de la communauté de communes des Pyrénées Catalane
L'équipe devant l'entrée du l'office de tourisme
pancarte du point info de la communauté de commune des Pyrénées Catalanes

There was a very open welcome from the manager who was very interested in the objectives of our association and the development of a possible circuit for the discovery of CRM in the region. He offered to promote our association via their means of communication. We left association flyers and exchanged addresses

Back to the town of La Llagonne in the direction the Church of Saint Vincent located at the top of the village and the rediscovery of chair 29

Au sommet du village de Llagonne l'église-Saint Valentin dEspona

 

 

Tne church of Saint-Vincent

 

The watercolour “The village of La Llagonne” was painted at the top of the village next to the church.

Roofs, rocks, fields and meadows combine natural and artificial forms to create an architecturally composed landscape

La chaise 28 située à cotée de l'Eglise de La Llagonne
Panneau de la chaise 28

 

The current view of the location of chair 28 is over the village of La Llagonne and the surrounding countryside.

From this location the view is splendid.

Vue actuelle de l'Emplacement de la chaise 28
vue panoramique de la chaise 28
hôtel Corrieu de La Llagonne

Current view of the location of chair 28 on the village of La Llagonne and the surrounding countryside. From this location the view is splendid.

From the church of Saint Vincent, the group of participants took the direction of the hotel restaurant Corrieu which is on the edge of the village on the south side below the hill. This hotel was frequented by Charles and Margaret when they came to the area and served as their base camp for exploring the area. It has been entirely restored since that time

It was in a field located near the hotel, in the northerly direction, that a watercolour called “The Poor Man’s village” was painted by our artist. Charles represented the village spread out on the hill and at its top the church of Saint Vincent and the Capil Tower

vue actuelle de La Llagone du champ ou a été réalisé l' aquarelle The Poor Man's villlage
Photographie de l'aquarelle The Poor Man's Village

 A chair was not made for this site where the watercolour was created, because the original work has not been found, but only a photograph.

The exploration of the surrounding meadows made it possible to determine the place where this work was carried out, the GPS coordinates were recorded

The association plans to create a chair near this place.

 

After these morning explorations, we headed to Mont-Louis for a very good and well-deserved lunch at the restaurant “Le Clos Cerdan”.

“Le Clos Cerdan” is located outside the walls at the entrance to Mont-Louis on the edge of the RN 116

 From the restaurant room panoramic view of the  massif of Cambre d’Aze.

Un repas bien mérité au restaurant

Second stop: Mont Louis

 

The commune of Mont-Louis is located at an altitude of 1600 meters on a promontory on the edge of the steep valley of the Tet. Its location allowed the construction of a Vauban fort which is well protected by the relief conditions.

Mont-Louis is named in honour of Louis XIV who was king of France at the time of the construction of the fortress in 1679.

Mont-Louis
Mont-Louis rue FrancK Haviland Fetges . rue du plas de l'ours

The chairs of the watercolours painted by Charles Rennie Mackintosh during his stay in Mont-Louis are located near the restaurant-hotel “Le Clos Cerdan”, on the edge of the RN116 and towards Perpignan.

  • 24 Fetges
  • 25 Slate Roofs
  • 26 Mountain Landscape
  • 27 Village in the Mountains

Chairs 26 and 27 “Mountain Landscape and Village in the Mountains” are located side by side on the edge of a meadow (used as a helipad) which is near a fir tree.

Helliport au fond de la prairie les chaises 26 et 27
Chaises 26 et 27 Côte à Côte
Panneau de la chaise 26 représentant l'aquarelle Montain Landscap
Village in the montains
Vue actuelle de la chaise 27 Village in the montain

For the current view of “Mountain landscape” we found the area of the fields has decreased and the trees have gained ground.

Chair 27 . “Village in the mountains” and the current view

 

To reach the chairs 25 “Slate Roofs” and 24 “Fetges” it is necessary to continue on the road in the direction of Perpignan to reach another parking-picnic area where information panels of the regional park of the Catalan Pyrenees are located. The chairs are located at the end of a meadow.

Panneau du parc-régional des Pyrénées Catalanes

 

The two chairs 24 and 25 are located side by side.

Chair 25 had been overturned so we straightened it up.

The subject chosen by Charles Rennie Mackintosh to make these two watercolours is the village of Fetges which is located on the slope of a hill on the other side of the valley of the river “la Têt”.

Chairs 24 et 25
Current view of Fetges near chairs 24 and 25
Chair pannel 25 Fetges
Chair pannel 24 Slate Roofs

To finish the Mont-Louis stage, the group visited the tourist office within the walls and then headed to the Villa Havilland outside the walls

The Tourist Information Office is located at 6 boulevard Vauban entering the city on the right, in a vaulted room of the former military hospital.

Entrée dans Mont Louis
office de tourisme de Mont-Louis

There was also a very good welcome from the staff of the tourist office and the head of the library. Delivery of flyers and exchange of contact details followed.

Mont Louis would be very interested in organizing a CRM circuit and a conference show around the work of Charles and his wife Margaret.

The Villa Havilland is located outside the fortified centre, in  rue Frank Havilland

 

This very beautiful stone villa was owned by the Havilland family; a wealthy family of industrialists and art lovers

La villa Haviland côté rue
Villa Haviland côté jardin

It housed visiting artists at the time when Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife came to the area. The villa no longer belongs to the family. Frank, the family artist was a friend of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Third Stop: Fetges

In search of the location where the watercolour 22 “A Mountain Village” and the watercolour 23 “The Boulders” were conceived.

Fetges

 

Fetges is a hamlet located on the national highway 116 a few kilometers from Mont Louis.

This village is built on a hillside above the RN116, the alleys that serve it are steep.

The name Fetges originates from the Latin word Fascia, which denotes a strip of land. It gave the Catalan word Feixa (plural: Feixes, pronounced as Fetges) which denotes a terraced cultivated land on the steep slopes of a mountain.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh made two watercolours in Fetges depicting this hamlet.

One is entitled ”A Mountain Village” n°22

To date, the original watercolour has not been found and we have only seen a black and white photograph.

No chairs were erected at the location where the artist produced the work.

 

Mountain village 22

Referring to the representation and exploring the area, the group spotted the location where Charles Rennie Mackintosh positioned himself to make this watercolour “A Mountain Village”

This place is located on the heights of Fetges on a small road called route du Pas de l’Ours. It is located on the left of the N116 coming from Mont-Louis just after a bridge.

Following this road that goes up to the heights, after the second turn, we found Fetges to be below us

Current view of Fetges from the Pas de l'Ours road

The group proposes to have a chair made with a representation of the watercolour: ”A Mountain Village” near this place.

The other watercolour painted in Fetges by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and also having as subject the hamlet of Fetges is entitled “The Boulders” (23). It represents the village of Fetges from the “Cami del Moli” located this time below the hamlet. 

To locate and reach this chair the members of the group had some difficulties

 

From the Pas de l’Ours road, it was necessary to go down the steep alleys of the hamlet and cross the RN116, a very temporary road, winding and protected on each side by metal barriers.

On devine la chaise 23 en contre bas de la RN116 derrière la glissière

 

The “Cami del Moli” is located below the RN116 and is itself difficult to access.

 

pancarte cami del moli
Le cami del mouli est situé sous la RN116

To create this work “The Boulders” the artist settled on this small path named Cami del Moli (which leads to an old mill).

Au loin la chaise 23sur la cami del moli

Chair 23 “The Boulders”

Charles Rennie Mackintosh depicted the houses and the village in the background.

It seems that this work is composite because the beautiful rock that occupies the foreground has been moved. It is actually lower on the path that we discovered this superb rock, but then we cannot see the village from this position.

Chair 23 The Boulders

Fetges current view of chair 23 location

Trees have grown that partially hide the view of the hamlet. The rocks depicted in the watercolour are further down the path. 

Fetges current view of chair 23 location

 

The rocks In this position there is no view of the village.

Les rochers de l'aquarelle The Boulders
Cami del moli les rochers mais pas de vue sur Fetjes

End of the day. Go back to Port-Vendres

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