Collection DC 029 - Papers of Kath Whyte, Head of Embroidery at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland

Christmas cards (Version 2) Christmas cards (Version 1) Christmas cards (Version 3) Christmas cards (Version 4) Christmas cards (Version 5) Paper Collage on wooden frame Apples (Version 2) Embroidered Sample, 'Tree Garden' (Version 1) Embroidered Sample, 'Tree Garden' (Version 2) Early Canvas Work Seat (Version 1) Early Canvas Work Seat (Version 2) Big Fat Sampler, large wall hanging with square design (Version 1) Big Fat Sampler, large wall hanging with square design (Version 2) Embroidered Piece 'Fishwife' (Version 1) Isus Cushion Embroidered Piece 'Fishwife' (Version 2) Cream Linen Tea Cosy, possibly student work (Version 1) Green Embroidered Square Cushion with pad Cream Linen Tea Cosy, possibly student work (Version 2) Cut Paper Collage Double cloth sample with fringe (Version 1) Double cloth sample with fringe (Version 2) Oblong Raffia Sample (Version 1) Oblong Raffia Sample (Version 2) Collage on beige cotton (Version 1) Collage on beige cotton (Version 2) Wall Hanging, coastal scene Sampler, 'Garden Picture' (Version 1) Woven Yellow Cushion (Version 1) Woven Yellow Cushion (Version 2) Sampler, 'Garden Picture' (Version 2) Embroidered sampler on woven raffia background (Version 1) Woven Raffia Bag (Version 1) Woven Raffia Bag (Version 2) Embroidered sampler on woven raffia background (Version 2) Embroidered Purse, Betty White (Version 1) Embroidered Purse, Betty White (Version 2) Embroidered Purse, Betty White (Version 3) Embroidered Blue Bag, Student work (Version 1) Cream Cotton sampler, collage effect with beads (Version 1) Embroidered Blue Bag, Student work (Version 2) Cream Cotton sampler, collage effect with beads (Version 2) Sampler on board showing different types of stitching Tea cosy (Version 1) Tea cosy (Version 2) Brown weave length (Version 1) Brown weave length (Version 2) Red binca geometric sampler (Version 1) Red binca geometric sampler (Version 2) Abstract embroidery
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Key Information

Reference code

DC 029


Papers of Kath Whyte, Head of Embroidery at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland


  • c1909-1996 (Creation)

Level of description



17 Cubic Feet

Content and Structure

Scope and content

A collection of Kath Whyte's personal papers which comprises:

  • Family papers, press cuttings and photographs, c1909-1981
  • School certificates, c1922
  • Correspondence, 1927-1996
  • Early sketches and drawings, 1920s
  • Sketchbooks, notebooks, photographs and correspondence from Gray's School of Art, c1922-1947
  • Personal correspondence, 1922-1996
  • National Identification Card, 1943
  • Travel diary, c1940s
  • Lecture notes, sketchbooks and notebooks, 1948-1974
  • Assorted textile samples, sketch books and notebooks, 1950s-1970s
  • Examples of weaving by Kath Whyte and her pupils, c1950s-1970s
  • Diaries 1974-1988 and miscellaneous books owned by Kath Whyte
  • Photographs (professional and personal), 1909-1996
  • MBE medal and associated correspondence and photograph
  • Extensive collection of undated slides
  • Exhibition catalogues
  • Textile and design pieces, c1930s-1970s

This material may contain sensitive information about individuals that is protected by the Data Protection Act. Until this material has been checked for sensitive information, it will not be available for researchers. Once this Data Protection work is complete the collection will be open for access, however any sensitive information will be closed and inaccessible for 75 years from the date of creation.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

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


System of arrangement

The material is sorted into 7 areas:

1: Papers and photographs relating to Kath Whyte's family, her time at school and in India (1909-1927)

2: Papers and photographs relating to Kath Whyte's time at Gray's School of Art Aberdeen and her early teaching career (1927-1948)

3: Papers and photographs relating to Kath Whyte's time at Glasgow School of Art (1948-1974)

4: Papers and Photographs relating to Kath Whyte's Eaglesham activities (1956-1995)

5: Papers and photographs relating to Kath Whyte's personal life (1909-1996)

6.Papers and photographs relating to Kath Whyte's embroidery work

7. Kath Whyte's collection of textiles and design work

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Helen Kathleen R Whyte, or Kath Whyte as she was known, was the outstanding influence of her generation on embroidery in Scotland and, through her writing and teaching, made a major contribution to textile art in Britain and abroad.

She was brought up in a home where "real" things - hand-made textiles, books, pictures - were loved and appreciated. Some of her formative years were spent in India, where her father worked, from where the rich colours and exciting textiles obviously made a lasting impression. After attending Arbroath High School, Arbroath, Angus, Scotland, where the strength of design teaching in the art department developed her sense of direction, she went on to Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, Scotland, where she took the Diploma Course in General Design. Two strong influences during that period of her life were James Hamilton, a colourful character and strong design teacher, and Dorothy Angus, who awakened in Kath her true dedication to stichery and textiles. After leaving art college she taught in schools in Aberdeen and organised craft classes for youth clubs during and after the war. Her influence on textile design really developed after she took up her post as Head of Embroidery and Weaving at Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland, in 1948, a position she held until she retired in 1974. She became part of the team of design lecturers there, earning great respect from her colleagues for her passionate and single-minded enthusiasm. She was also active in other forms of art education. She was part of a team appointed to validate the DipAD course in English art colleges. She was a much respected adviser on many of the English courses and continued her interest in them through the years as a friend. She was also an art advisor to the Scottish Education Department, so her influence carried on through to secondary school education. Kathleen Whyte was awarded the MBE in 1969 for her contribution to art education. Also, in 1969, her book, Design and Embroidery was published by Batsford and was also produced in the US and Holland with a second edition in 1982. In the introduction to the catalogue for her Retrospective Exhibition in 1987, William Buchanan said: "She is one of a great line of embroiderers at Glasgow who have practised and taught and written and proved that, along with the brush, the pencil and the chisel, used by the finger of an artist, the needle is a potent means of visual expression."

Name of creator

(fl c1930s-1970s)

Biographical history

Name of creator

(fl c1950s-1970s)

Biographical history

Marie MacIver was a student of Kath Whyte.

Name of creator

(fl 1985-)

Biographical history

Name of creator


Biographical history

Robert Stewart was one of the foremost British designers of the second half of the twentieth century. His work revolutionized design in postwar Britain. Trained at the Glasgow School of Art in the 1940s. He took charge of the printed textiles department there in 1949. He was passionately interested in surface design and became one of the most significant influences in the field. He designed for Liberty, Donald Brothers, and the Edinburgh Tapestry Company in Great Britain and North America before forming his own company to produce printed ceramic kitchenware. During the 1970s and 1980s he designed and manufactured large-scale ceramic murals for public buildings. During his thirty-five years at the Glasgow School of Art, Stewart proved to be an inspiring and influential teacher. His legacy is to be found in his many successful former students now working in a variety of fields, including textiles and theatre design.

Name of creator

(fl c1950s-)

Biographical history

Crissie White studied Embroidery and Weaving at The Glasgow School of Art between 1956-1960. She became Senior Lecturer in charge: Design (Embroidery and weaving) in 1974.

Name of creator


Administrative history

Archival history

Custodial history

Previously held by Kath Whyte. Some material donated by Crissie White.

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

There are no physical characteristics that affect the use of this material

Finding aids

Related Material

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

No known copies.

Related materials

Press cutting relating to Kath Whyte can be found in the Press cuttings collection available in the search room.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)


People and Organisations

Genre access points

Administrative Information

Description identifier

GB 1694 DC 029

Institution identifier

GB 1694

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description - Second edition


Level of detail

Processing information

  • Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 14 May 2002
  • 08 June 2005 Catalogue record converted to EAD2002, May 2005.
  • Additional cataloguing undertaken by Kim Sommerville, Archives Assistant, c.2009-2010
  • Archives Hub description updated by Carrie Skinner, Logjam Project Officer, September 2011
  • Catalogue imported into Archon software and edited by Michelle Kaye, Archon Project Officer, May 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

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Accession area