Details / Notes

Since its opening in 1845, The Glasgow School of Art has been connected to textile design and production.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries the School aimed to train local designers to produce patterns for the textile industry in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. In the 1890s, the School's embroidery department was established and soon became famous for the Glasgow Style pieces its staff and students produced (examples of such work are housed in the School's collections).

Jessie Newberry (1864-1948), the first head of this department, encouraged her students to study historical designs and textiles in order to understand different embroidery techniques and to use these items as a source of inspiration for the development of new original work. This teaching ethos continued to be used in the 20th century during which time the School also developed courses in textile printing, weave and knit.

A large number of the items in the School's collection are related to The Needlework Development Scheme (1934-1962). This scheme, sponsored by J & P Coats of Paisley, collected examples of embroidery from a variety of geographical and historical areas and made them available for use by educational institutions and embroidery groups. The scheme aimed to encouraging greater interest in needlework, and to improve the standard of embroidery techniques and designs. When the scheme ended, its collections were disseminated to a variety of organisations. The Glasgow School of Art received 125 items dating from 1652-1961 and originating from Britain, Europe and Asia.

Amongst other items of note in the School's collections are weave sample books from Donald Brothers Ltd, Dundee and examples of work by Kath Whyte (1909-1996), GSA's former Head of Embroidery, and her students.

Related publications:

Liz Arthur, Textile Treasures at the Glasgow School of Art;

Liz Arthur, The Unbroken Thread: A Century of Embroidery at Glasgow School of Art;

Thomasina Beck, Glasgow Girls: Women in Art and Design 1880-1920;

Kathleen Whyte, Design in Embroidery;

R.Oddy. Embroideries from Needlework development scheme;

J. Taylor, The Glasgow School of Embroidery in 'The Studio';

Needlework development scheme, Contemporary Embroideries;

Margaret Swanson, Needlecraft in School;

Margaret Swanson; Needle craft for Older Girls;

Margaret Swanson, Needle craft and Psychology;

Margaret Swanson and Ann Macbeth, Educational Needle craft.



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1595 Archival description results for Textiles

1595 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

Anne Scott Doll Collection

  • DC 038
  • Collection
  • c1956

The collection consists of 27 dolls all dressed in period costume. They are composed of various mixed media including fabrics, metal, glass, plastics, feathers and furs.

This collection was damaged in the fire in The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art on 23rd May 2014 and is awaiting conservation.

Scott, Anne


Portuguese. Part of peasant costume. Closely woven in red wool on white warp. Geometric design in bright colours in loom embroidery - extra weft pulled up in loops on the surface Yellow braid waistband, and pink braid edges.

Not available / given


British. Scallop-edged cream taffeta apron. Silk and metal threads. Symmetrical floral design incorporating metal thread areas padded with cord. Extensive use of pearl and sequins. Framed.

Not available / given

'Arabesque' placemat

Brown placemat with white fringed edges. Features a geometric design and is labelled "Arabesque; a two coloured placemat in chocolate and biscuit by Sylvia Chalmers"

Chalmers, Sylvia

Armchair cover

Rectangular yellow armchair cover. Thought to be by Ann Macbeth. This item was damaged in the fire in GSA's Mackintosh Building on 23rd May 2014. Textile conservation was completed in 2019.

Not available / given

Art and design work by Rose Valentine

  • DC 113
  • Fonds
  • c1915
  • 3 x decorated leather bags
  • 1 x embossed leather sample
  • 1 decorated leather folder
  • 1 x copy of Le Cuir Compositions Décoratives by Jehan Raymond
  • 6 x oil paintings
  • 2 x embroidered pieces relating to Educational Needlecraft scheme: 1 mat with running stitch border and 1 drawstring bag with running stitch border
  • 1 x embroidered pin cushion
  • 1 x embroidered cloth bag with wooden clasp
  • 1 x square Glasgow Style embroidery (possibly the front of a cushion cover)
  • 1 x sachet decorated with embroidered flowers
  • 1 x embroidered square mat

Please note that this material is not yet fully catalogued and therefore some items may not be accessible to researchers.

Valentine, Rose

Art, Design and Architecture collection

  • NMC
  • Collection
  • 13th century to early 21st century

Artworks, design pieces and architectural designs related to Glasgow School of Art staff and students.

Items include

  • oil paintings
  • ilk screen prints
  • lithograph prints
  • prints
  • photographs
  • sketches
  • sketch books
  • drawings
  • watercolours
  • collage
  • metalwork, sculpture and ceramics.

Almost all works are by former students and staff or figures related to the history of The Glasgow School of Art. The earliest pieces date from the 16th century and later examples have been purchased from recent Degree Shows. The work is in a variety of media and includes drawings, paintings, prints, sketchbooks, furniture and sculpture. Artists represented include many key figures and the most influential and successful students.

There are also several works from former tutors including Neil Dallas Brown, David Donaldson and Fred Selby, alongside contemporary works by students, donated or purchased at degree show. Key works include those by: Maurice Greiffenhagen, Francis Newbery, John Quinton Pringle, Benno Schotz, Ian Fleming and James D Robertson. Suites of note include large collections of Joan Eardley sketches and paintings, Joan Palmer prints, and architectural drawings by Eugene Bourdon.

Not available / given

Artistic dress and essay

Artistic Dress made by a third year Interior Design student as a project for the 'Artistic Dress - Fashion, Style and identity' course.  Full length, long sleeved 'A' line dress in dark blue, with a square neck and a central panel of applique in stylized floral shapes in cream, beige and lemon, with an orange/gold ribbon edging to the area.  Also, an essay about Artistic dress and making a dress inspired by her studies.

Broger, Anna

'Assisi Work' fold-out booklet

Small blue card folder with a handwritten label 'Assisi Work'. It contains a handwritten explanation of the technique and materials, the pattern design for two birds and a tree in pen and ink on graph paper, and the worked textile in blue and white.

Mackie, Mary

Associated Works

This collection includes works by a number of artists, designers and architects associated with Charles Rennie Mackintosh, including his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, his sister-in-law Frances Macdonald MacNair and his sister-in-law's husband Herbert MacNair. These works include textiles, designs, and four volumes of a Glasgow School of Art student publication called The Magazine, as well as several individual watercolours now separated from the publication. The collection also includes a number of models for proposed architectural schemes by Mackintosh.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Audiovisual material

GSA Archives and Collections hold 216 audiovisual files, covering a range of topics and a wide date range. The audiovisual material has been created both by GSA and by external organisations, such as the BBC (television and radio), STV and ITV, other educational institutions and the Scottish Arts Council. Media in the collection include 16mm films, 35mm films, audio cassettes, audio CDs, CD Rom, DV cassette, DVD, Floppy disk, Reel to reel audios, Super 8 film, U-matic films, VHS tapes and Video 8 tapes. The audiovisual files pertain to topics including the GSA Fashion and Degree Shows, and Activities Week; students discussing their work; lectures by architects; presentations by, and interviews and conversations with, GSA alumni; centenary of the Mackintosh Building; Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh; plays; and documentaries on GSA. Please note that this material is not yet fully catalogued and therefore some items may not be accessible to researchers. As at August 2017, only the fashion show audiovisual material has been catalogued. The remaining uncatalogued material is therefore not currently accessible for researchers.

Webster, Chris

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