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Scottish Textiles

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

A day school focusing on Scottish textiles, which will give an introduction to the topic and give an overview of both ‘art’ and ‘craft’ areas, starting in the 19th century and moving up to the present. Textiles have been central to Scotland’s economy and its image, and this course will help to reveal how and why this happened.

Please note, this course includes a field trip (a visit to the National Museum of Scotland and the National Gallery of Scotland).

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge is required, but consulting at least one of the course texts is recommended.

Content of Course

1. Introduction to Scottish textiles – the Industrial Revolution and its impact on Scotland, the Dundee jute industry, Paisley shawls, etc. The myth of tartan – how textiles have been used to create an image of Scotland (10:00 – 12:00).

2. The Scottish interior – furnishings and domestic needlecraft. Scottish art textiles - Phoebe Traquair, Margaret and Frances Macdonald, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, etc. Contemporary Scottish practitioners (13:00 – 15:00).

3. Visit to National Museum of Scotland, looking at textiles in the Textiles Trade section/Phoebe Traquair murals/ Scottish art textiles. Walk to the Writers' Museum. Visit to see Triple Portrait tapestry. Walk to the National Gallery of Scotland. Visit to the Phoebe Traquair embroideries (15:00 – 17:00).

Teaching method(s)

Lectures will be followed by visits, during which there will be discussion and explanation, relating the theory to the practical.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Analyse and comment on the development of Scottish textiles;

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the communicative power of Scottish textiles and role in creating an image of Scotland;

  • Understand what is excellent in current practice.


Core Readings


  • Butt, J and Ponting, K, eds.1987.Scottish Textile History, Edinburgh, Mercat Press.

  • Carruthers, A, ed.1996.The Scottish Home, Edinburgh, National Museums of Scotland.

  • Cumming, E.2007.Hand, Heart and Soul: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland, Edinburgh, Birlinn.

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.