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Ann Macbeth
(1875 – 1948)

Born in Bolton, Ann Macbeth was the eldest of nine children of a Scottish Engineer. In 1897 she took up studies at the Glasgow School of Art and from 1902 began teaching there, serving initially as an Assistant Mistress. In her time she taught needlework, embroidery and applique, metalwork and bookbinding design, remaining there until her retirement in 1928. 


In 1908 she took over from Jessie Newberry as head of the department of embroidery, lecturing widely on the teachings of needlework and published various books on the subject.  Throughout her career her work was shown in The Studio and at various national and international exhibitions, including the 1902 Turin exhibition. In 1903, Fra Newberry published ‘An Appreciation of the work of Ann Macbeth in the Studio. 


Although best known for her embroidery work, she was a skilled watercolourist, bookbinder, pottery painter, illustrator and leatherworker. She also produced pieces of metalwork and designs for a number of different companies including carpet manufacturers Alexander Morton and Co. A committed member of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the GSA archives reveal that she designed various promotional materials and also endured imprisonment and forced feedings for her cause. 


Glasgow Museums hold 16 items relating to Ann Macbeth, a mixture of textiles and ceramics. More from the Victorian Web.  

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