Dress and Textiles in Special Collections

Originally written as a post for the University of Glasgow College of Arts Industry Engagement blog, in conjunction with our colleagues in Archive Services, this post discusses dress and textiles sources that you might not realise are preserved in our Special Collections store.

Embroidered Bindings: The Euing Collection:

Embroidered binding from Sp Coll F-f.8

Embroidered binding from Sp Coll F-f.8

We have a collection of eleven embroidered bindings which offer a fascinating glimpse into embroidery and textiles throughout the seventeenth century.  In fact, a University of Glasgow Art History student Edwin Hutchison undertook a placement within the Special Collections department looking at the history,

Close up of binding on Sp Coll F.f.8

Close up of binding on Sp Coll F.f.8

techniques and materials used in embroidered bindings. Edwin completed a resource discussing some of the different designs and techniques found in the embroidery in our collection and also put together a fascinating and beautiful Flickr set showing images of our embroidered bindings.

The embroideries in our collection are from the seventeenth century and are an interesting resource for anyone interested in materials and designs in textiles from this period. Our conservation department is looking into ways of researching and conserving these wonderful items to help understand more about them and potentially create project work for students. These bindings are full of potential for research and inspiration for students, academics, designers – you name it!

Costume design: Berkeley Sutcliffe and the Scottish Theatre Archive:

Berkely Sutcliffe costume design from STA Gz 1-2

Berkely Sutcliffe costume design from STA Gz 1-2

On the other hand our Scottish Theatre Archive has examples of theatre costume design throughout recent decades with some of our collections containing illustrations showing the design and patterns of costumes to be used in various performances. Berkeley Sutcliffe (1918-1979) was a leading costume and

stage designer for the theatre. The designs within this collection in the Scottish Theatre Archive represent some of his most lavish work for the ‘Five Past Eight’ shows at the Alhambra Theatre in

Glasgow and the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh during the 1950s-1960s. Particularly interesting from a dress and textiles point of view is that Sutcliffe often pinned swatches of fabric to his designs to develop his ideas about the costume and suggest fabrics and textiles for use in the finished product. You can see more examples of the kind of material in our Scottish Theatre Archive in this Flickr set. This is a really entertaining collection of illustrations and is ripe for research whether your interest is in textiles, costume design, history of Scottish theatre or for those searching for inspiration of their own.

Special Collections is open to everyone. If you would like to delve more into the collections explored above or if you find other sources of interest for your work, whatever your work may be, do pop in to the reading room or send us an email to special@lib.gla.ac.uk.

To learn more about dress and textiles in the University of Glasgow Archive Services department please head on over to Rachael’s blog.

Categories: Special Collections

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1 reply


  1. Dress and Textiles in the Archives | University of Glasgow Library

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