Item NMC/0095A - Costume designs

Costume designs (Version 1) Costume designs (Version 2)
Open original Digitised item


Creative Commons - click here to find out moreThis image is provided under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA License. You can download this version for private study or non-commercial use. Our terms, conditions and copyright policy (PDF) contains further information about acceptable usage. If you are seeking permission to publish, please contact us ›

Please click here if you would like to request a larger, high-resolution version ›

Key Information

Reference code



Costume designs


  • 1903 (Creation)

Level of description




Content and Structure

Scope and content

Montage of costume designs for the Masque of the City Arms.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in Glasgow of Irish and French parentage. From 1885-1893 she attended Colonel Clark’s School, Manchester & The Manchester High School for Girls. From 1893-1897 she studied at The Manchester School of Art, under Walter Crane. From 1898-1904 she was at GSA as a student and also teaching ( from 1898-1903). She was awarded the Diploma in 1902. Classes included Stained Glass, Enamels, Illustration, Sgraffito, Gesso and metal work. From Mar-July 1903 she travelled in Paris, Italy and Switzerland visiting Studios, etc. Between 1904-1914 she worked as a theatre and costume designer in Glasgow, London and Europe. Companies included Louis Verande, Paris Opera, Granville Barker and the Quinlan Opera Company.
Between 1915-1933 she returned to teach full-time at GSA concentrating on Costume, Lithography and Book Illustration. In 1927 became Head of the Pictorial Section of the School of Design and specialised in teaching Illustration. In 1933 was offered and accepted the post of Director of the Glasgow School of Art, but died (16 Feb 1933), aged 52, of a brain haemorrhage before the appointment was made public and W.O. Hutchison took up the position. Dorothy had a sister, Olive Carleton Smyth, who was also a successful professional artist and a fellow teacher at the School. She took over as Head of Design when Dorothy died.
Dorothy worked as a professional artist while teaching. Her early work included the production of local plays in Glasgow, sometimes working with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and others of the Glasgow School on decoration. From the 1920s she undertook book illustrations for Chiver’s, Blackie and Collins. She worked in silverwork, sculpture (including modelling friezes and panels for the Allan Liners “Victoria” and “Virginia”). She was known as a successful portrait painter and broadcast extensively on art subjects, including art lessons for children on the BBC (as Paint Pot Pixie). Smyth also ran the Drama Club at the School between 1924 and 1933.

Name of creator


Biographical history

De Courcy Lewthwaite Dewar (1878–1959), metalwork designer, was born on 12 February 1878 in Kandy, Ceylon, the daughter of a tea planter, John Lewthwaite Dewar, and his wife, Amelia Cochran. Her unusual first name had been passed down through several generations in her family, by whom she was known as Kooroovi, the Tamil word for a small bird.

She was one of three surviving daughters of the family. From 1891 until 1908 or 1909 she studied part-time at the Glasgow School of Art. Her enamel and metalwork, which included jewellery, clock surrounds, mirror surrounds, plaques, caskets, buttons, and sconces, was frequently illustrated in The Studio. She also painted, engraved, and produced designs for bookplates, calendars, tea-room menus, and cards, as well as costumes for masques.

For thirty-eight years Dewar taught design in the metalwork department of the school, during some of that period with Peter Wylie Davidson, in whose Applied Design in the Precious Metals (1929) her Presentation Casket (c.1910; Glasgow Society of Women Artists, on loan to Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries) is illustrated. ‘Dewar's enamel and graphic work is characterized by strong colour and vigorous outline and the Glasgow Style designs from her student and tutorial phase gradually evolved to a more geometric and boldly coloured Czechoslovakian folk-art influenced style’ (Burkhauser, 163). She was president of the Society of Lady Artists' Club, whose history she wrote (privately printed, 1950). Her sketchbooks of c.1895–1910 (priv. coll.), letters, and journals provide ‘a rare account of a woman designer of the Glasgow Style era’ (ibid.).

Dewar was involved with the women's suffrage movement, for whom she designed bookplates, programmes, and calendars. She compiled files on women artists for the National Council of Women in London providing biographical information and reproductions of works. She did not marry and lived with her sister, Katharine, at 15 Woodside Terrace, Glasgow, until her death there on 24 November 1959.

Archival history

Custodial history

Physical Description and Conditions of Use

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical Description

Pencil, ink and watercolour on paper; photographs

Dimensions: 1120 x 660 (mount) mm

Finding aids

Related Material

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related materials

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)


Place access points

People and Organisations

Genre access points


Level of detail

Processing information




Digitised item (Master) rights area

Digitised item (Reference) rights area

Digitised item (Thumbnail) rights area

Accession area