Jessie Newbery
(1864 – 1948)

The daughter of a Paisley Shawl Manufacturer, Newbery studied at the Glasgow School of Art (1885 – 1889), before going on to teach there - Enamelling Design (1895-1899), Mosaics (1896-1898) and Embroidery for which she is most know. Establishing a department of Embroidery in 1894, she introduced a completely new style which was totally original in design, colour and technique. Opposed to the standard approach of the day which was to use transfers and pre-printed patterns for embroidery, she encouraged students to make up their own designs and championed the use of simple stitching and materials so that it was accessible to all.  Her work is typified by light purple, green, blue and pink colours and nature in the form of plant motifs. Flowers, particularly roses, featured often as did her distinctive used of appliqué. The Art School Embroidery department and her teachings gained worldwide recognition through her work, which was exhibited widely and featured often in The Studio magazine. She also produced stained glass, metalwork and designs for carpets. In 1908 she retired from teaching and was succeeded by Ann Macbeth. Glasgow Museums hold 19 items attributed to her, most of which are textiles, such as collars, cuffs and cushion covers. The V & A holds five objects attributed to her, two of which are on display. Her work appears rarely at auction.  

Jessie Newbery
Born Jessie Wylie Rowat in Paisley, the daughter of Margaret Downie Hill and William Rowat, a shawl manufacturer.
Embroidered Cover
Cusion cover of embroiderde linen with silks, circa 1900. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Silkwork Cushion
Silkwork cushion cover, with insciption (after William Blake) Under Every Grief and Pine Runs A Joy With Silken Twine, circa 1900. Approx 16" by 12" H
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