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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712 Results for Textiles

712 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

"Happy Birthday" apron

Child's apron featuring a number of different animals gathered around a birthday cake with "Happy Birthday" written across it. Printed in yellow, orange, brown, and green on a red background.

Chalmers, Sylvia

"Happy Birthday" apron

Child's apron featuring a number of different animals gathered around a birthday cake with "Happy Birthday" written across it. Printed in yellow, white, green, and grey on a blue background.

Chalmers, Sylvia

'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

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 Glas...

Scott, Anne


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


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

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 ...

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; silk screen prints; lithograph prints; prints; photographs; sketches; sketch books; drawings; watercolours; collage...

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 pa...

Broger, Anna

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 h...

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, ot...

Webster, Chris

Awaken Exhibition material

Includes one large textile sample plus accompanying CD. Large scale textile work, 'Drawn Out', designed to be stretched over a frame allowing the central neck opening and sleeves to pull forward from the rest of the work. Digitally print...

Campbell, J R


Long multi-coloured banner. Wefts and warps in shades of purple, orange, pink, green, yellow, grey and brown form an abstract design of gradated colours on a cream-coloured background. The warps have been left long in the lower edge and turned int...

Not available / given


Double-faced fabric, in an even, regular weave. Grid design on a cream background in rectangles of red, orange, yellow and three shades of blue, with colour gradations in some parts of the design. It also has been quilted to add texture and weight...

Not available / given

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