As Glasgow School discoveries go, they don’t get much better than an embroidered silk collar made by Ann Macbeth (1875-1948) and very likely worn by her for a portrait photograph taken in 1900.
It was found by the keen-eyed vendor in a box of fabric at a Glasgow market and instantly stood out for its quality. Entered for sale at the Lyon & Turnbull (26/25% buyer’s premium) Design since 1860 sale in Edinburgh on October 12, it doubled expectations at £9500.
An inspiring artist, teacher and women’s rights activist, Macbeth was the most talented student of Jessie Newbery who ran the embroidery department at the Glasgow School of Art.
Her striking embroideries and accessories in the Glasgow style were a regular feature in The Studio, with this collar illustrated in the magazine’s 1908 edition and later shown as part of The Crafts Exhibition, Old Bluecoat School, Liverpool, 1912.
Detachable collars and cuffs were popular because they added colour and decoration to the plainest of outfits. They were frequently used by the embroiderers of the Glasgow School of Art. A photograph in the collection of the Glasgow Museums shows Macbeth wearing a very similar – perhaps even the same - garment.
Cranston’s tearoom chair
Leading the sale was a dark-stained and waxed oak ladderback chair with original drop-in rush seat designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Catherine Cranston’s Argyle Street tearooms in 1898. It was the second time the Glasgow architect and entrepreneur had worked together.
Used at one end of the Luncheon Room, about 20 chairs of this robust design appear in contemporary photographs, of which five are known to survive.
Estimated at £8000-12,000, it sold at £26,000.