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Jessie Newbery
Jessie Newbery in 1900.
Born Jessie Wylie Rowat
(1864-05-28)28 May 1864
Died 27 April 1948(1948-04-27) (aged 83)
Nationality Scottish
Education Glasgow School of Art
Known for Decorative Arts, Design
Movement Art Nouveau, Glasgow Style, Symbolism
Spouse(s) Francis Newbery

Jessie Newbery (28 May 1864 – 27 April 1948) was a Scottish artist and embroiderer. She was one of the artists known as the Glasgow Girls. Newbery also created the Department of Embroidery at the Glasgow School of Art where she was able to establish needlework as a form of unique artistic design.[1] She married director of the Glasgow School of Art, Francis Newbery, in 1889.[2]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Born Jessie Wylie Rowat in Paisley, she was the daughter of Margaret Downie Hill and William Rowat, a forward-thinking shawl manufacturer. A visit to Italy when Newbery was eighteen stimulated a lifelong interest in textiles and other decorative arts. She enrolled as a student at Glasgow School of Art in 1884.

Work and Career[edit]

Newbery established the Department of Embroidery at the Glasgow School of Art[1] and she was appointed head in 1894. Newbery was considered an "enthusiastic teacher and encouraged a strong sense of design in her pupils' work."[1] Her work in the Department of Embroidery helped to raise the status of creative needlework.

Newbery felt that design was important in her work. Her approach to design was egalitarian: "I believe that nothing is common or unclean: that the design and decoration of a pepper pot is as important in its degree, as the conception of a cathedral."[1]

Newbery was careful in her choice of color and materials. She preferred to use a lighter palette than was traditional, focusing on light purples, greens, blues and pink.[1] She also encouraged the use of "unusual techniques such as needle weaving."[3] Newbery's appliqué work gave rise to the rose motif identified with Glasgow Style, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his circle.

She taught dress design alongside embroidery. She thought clothing should be practical and took an interest in rational dress, while also believing that clothes should be beautiful. This approach to women's clothing was considered "avant-garde" and "radical."[2] Newbery first experimented with a "Renaissance flavor" in her own clothing, often choosing materials such as silk velvets and lightweight wools which she embroidered herself.[1]

After an illness in 1908, Jessie Newbery retired from the Department of Embroidery. She continued to create her own work and showed her embroidery in exhibitions, including one at the Louvre, Paris.[1] Newbery died in Corfe Castle, Dorset, where she and her husband, Francis Newbery, had gone to live after retirement.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Arthur, Liz (1993). "Jessie Newbery (1864-1948)". In Burkhauser, Jude. Glasgow Girls: Women in Art and Design 1880-1920. Edinburgh: Canongate Press, Plc. pp. 146–151. ISBN 0963698508. 
  2. ^ a b "Jessie Newbery and Artistic Dress". Special Collections at Glasglow School of Art Library. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Cushion Cover". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessie_Newbery — Please support Wikipedia.
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4 news items


Mon, 11 May 2015 10:15:00 -0700

Newbery was the daughter of Glasgow School of Art director Francis Newbery and Glasgow Girls artist Jessie Newbery. Like her parents, she attended Glasgow School of Art and later became a close friend of Cecile Walton. It is also said she caught the ...

Herald Scotland

Herald Scotland
Fri, 15 May 2015 16:26:56 -0700

There is a suggestion that Mary Newbery, a close friend of Robertson and Walton, and an artist herself (she was the daughter of Glasgow Girls artist Jessie Newbery and Glasgow School of Art director Fra Newbery) had a similar arrangement. Walton's ...

Glasgow Evening Times

Glasgow Evening Times
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 23:01:18 -0700

From Margaret Macdonald Macintosh and Frances McNair to Jessie M King, Ann Macbeth and Jessie Newbery, who, with their work in textiles, ceramics and metals, all had a hand in forging the distinctive Glasgow Style. "The walk focuses on the little ...

BBC News

BBC News
Thu, 01 Jul 2010 22:47:12 -0700

A major exhibition of the art works of the Glasgow Girls is set to open in south west Scotland. The event runs from Saturday until 30 August at Kirkcudbright Town Hall. The Glasgow Girls name describes a group of artists and designers with links to the ...

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