An inspiring artist, teacher and women’s rights activist, Ann Macbeth’s embroideries continue to charm and captivate those who set their eyes upon them. Skilfully executed, her work typically features young female figures encased within an array of stylised roundels and openwork banding. However, as a teacher at the School of Art, she continued to uphold Jessie Newbery’s views and encouraged students to explore women’s fashion and artistic dress. This rare surviving example of a collar, very likely worn by her for a portrait taken in 1900, captures the organic essence and vibrancy of the Glasgow style.
It must be said that whilst this design of this collar may appear simple to the eye it is deceptively so, as it demands a remarkable level of skill and creativity from the embroiderer. The arrangement of abstracted plant forms and expressive linear patterns come together in perfect symmetry and sit in harmony with the pastel-coloured silk threads chosen. The complexity of the stitching techniques employed also speak to the unique skills and knowledge of the embroiderer. Each component in the design has been worked with a great deal of silk threads and yet every rose bud and petal appears entirely uniform: the expressive stitching no doubt helps the design achieve a certain feeling of weight and energy which brings the piece to life. A careful balance of practicality and beautiful decoration, this rare collar showcases the enchanting designs of Ann Macbeth which were a significant contribution in the evolution of the iconic Glasgow style.
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0131 557 8844
0131 557 8844