Collection DC 068 - Papers and textiles of Sylvia Chalmers

Student notebooks (Version 1) Photographs (Version 1) Photographs (Version 2) Photographs (Version 3) Harrods apron Vegetables apron Raffles Coffee House apron (Version 1) Raffles Coffee House apron (Version 2) Tamdhu apron Apron with Scottish motifs Harrods 'Cooks Way' apron "Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness" apron Thistle design apron "Le Chef" apron Thistles design apron "Happy Birthday" apron "Happy Birthday" apron Isle of Iona apron SWRI apron (PVC coated) SWRI apron Wegen Curling Club apron Flower basket apron Thistle apron "Isle of Iona" bag (Version 1) "Isle of Iona" bag (Version 2) Tote bag - thistle design Scottish motif bag (Version 1) Scottish motif bag (Version 2) Garden motif bag (Version 1) Garden motif bag (Version 2) Small garden motif bag (Version 1) Small garden motif bag (Version 2) Noah's Ark placemat Green placemat 'Arabesque' placemat 'Braemar 1628' placemat 'Invercauld 15th Cent' placemat Thistle placemat (Version 1) Thistle placemat (Version 2) Floral pattern placemat Banded floral tablemat Birds placemat in orange Yellow floral placemat "The Minster Church of St. Cuthberga, Wimborne Dorset" tea towel Christchurch tea towel Waltzing Waters tea towel Heart pattern tea towel The Glasgow School of Art tea towel 'Fantasy' kerchief Isle of Muck kerchief
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Key Information

Reference code

DC 068


Papers and textiles of Sylvia Chalmers


  • c1943-1990 (Creation)

Level of description



5 Linear Feet

Content and Structure

Scope and content

A collection of work by textile designer Sylvia Chalmers, comprising Glasgow School of Art student material; work-related designs and sketches; magazine clippings; calligraphy samples; a programme for an exhibition titled "A centenary exhibition to celebrate the founding of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists in 1882"; photographs; textiles such as aprons, tote bags, placemats, tea towels, kerchiefs, curtains and a banner; and textile design samples.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

This material has been appraised in line with Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections standard procedures.


System of arrangement

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Scottish designer Sylvia Chalmers was a contemporary of Lucienne Day. Chalmers was a student at the Glasgow School of Art in the late 1940s. She moved to London in 1951, where she designed fabrics for Heal's. She won three medals for her textiles designs shown at the Milan Triennale in 1954. In 1955 she founded her textile printing company in Scotland, Tuar Fabrics, which she ran for over 20 years, often selling her textile designs for fashion use to Elizabeth Eaton.

In 1976 Chalmers purchased Blacknest House at Thornhill in Dumfriesshire and converted the out-buildings into a design and production complex. In recent years twelve of Chalmers' textile designs from the 1950s and 60s have been digitally reproduced by the Centre for Advanced Textiles at Glasgow School of Art, making her designs available to buy once more. Her influential and distinctive designs have been discussed in several recent publications including "V&A Pattern: The Fifties" (2009) and "Twentieth Century Pattern Design" (2011).

Archival history

Custodial history

Donated in 2009.

Physical Description and Conditions of Use

Conditions governing access

Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections are open for research by appointment. For further details, please refer to our Access Policy @

Conditions governing reproduction

Application for permission to reproduce should be submitted to The Archives and Collections at The Glasgow School of Art.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of material.

For further details, please refer to our Reprographic Service Guide @

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical Description

Finding aids

Related Material

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

There are no known copies of this material.

Related materials

No related material.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)


Place access points

People and Organisations

Genre access points


Level of detail

Processing information

  • Collection listed by Kimberly Sommerville, Archives Assistant, c2010. Imported from Excel spreadsheet and edited by Michelle Kaye, Archives and Collections Assistant, October 2012.
  • Catalogue imported into Archon software and edited by Michelle Kaye, Archon Project Officer, June 2014.
  • Catalogue exported from Archon and imported into AtoM during system migration, 2018-2019.


  • English



Archivist's note

Finding Aid Authors: The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections.

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2014 GSA Archives. All rights reserved.

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