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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395 Results for Textiles

395 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 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 will be undertaken in 2019.

Not available / given

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 paintingssilk screen printslithograph printsprintsphotographssketchessketch booksdrawingswatercolourscollagemetalwork, sculptur...

Not available / given

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


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


Embroidered bedspread of linen with applique. The technique, lettering and choice of inscription are typical of Jessie Newbery's work. From the wear on the stitching of the inscription it is obvious that the bedspread has been in regular use....

Bible marker

Dull blue/green corded silk embroidered at each end. Thought to be by Ann Macbeth (the use of these particular strong shades of magenta and turquoise are distinctive of Macbeth's work at this time).

Not available / given

Broken Diamonds

Framed embroidery of geometric design with orange, pink, purple, blue, and green thread on a purple background. Back of frame has label from "The Present Gallery, 16 Broomgate, Lanark", stating artist "Margaret McFarlane" and t...

McFarlane, Margaret

Carpet for The Hill House

Commissioned by Walter Blackie, the carpet was designed for the entrance hall at The Hill House in Helensburgh.This item was lost in the fire in The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art on 23rd May 2014, only a small damaged fragment r...

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Child's Dress

Yugoslavian. Sleeveless dress with side seams and hem decorated with red, blue and black embroidery. Tasselled braid belt. From Bosnia. This item was damaged in the fire in GSA's Mackintosh Building on 23rd May 2014. Textile conservation will...

Not available / given

Cream Curtains

Cream pleated top curtains with an embroidered design of flowers and leaves. This item was damaged in the fire in GSA's Mackintosh Building on 23rd May 2014. Textile conservation will be undertaken in 2019.

Not available / given

Cupid and Psyche

This item was lost in the fire in The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art on 23rd May 2014. Composition of embroidered fruit and flowers (as triptych). In original frame. Design made for Longcroft, Helensburgh.

Hamilton, Margaret

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