Ronald MacDonald Scott, Tapestry Weaver

Scope and Content

Sketch books 1936-1970s; Drawings 1930s-1945; Designs 1930s-1940s; Personal records; Textile sample 1930s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The artist and tapestry weaver Robert MacDonald Scott - known to his friends as Donald - was born in 1914 in Kelso. He was the younger son of John Scott, a former Provost of Kelso. He attended Kelso High School, then studied at Edinburgh College of Art and graduated in 1935. He was awarded a travelling scholarship to Europe and was given a Fellowship in Design when he returned. He met Anne Carrick at ECA and they married in 1943.

Before the war he initially tried to work as a freelance textile designer. At the outbreak of the war, he joined the army and was commissioned to specialise in camouflage work. He served for three years in the Middle East and while there was able to add to his knowledge of textiles in Iraq, Syria and the Lebanon. In 1947 he converted a warehouse in Pendstead, Melrose into a house, gallery and studio. He set up looms for tapestry weaving and was a founding member of the Scottish Craft Centre in the Canongate where he had exhibitions.

Commissions for his tapestries included the Chancel of Glasgow Cathedral in 1953, the Dean of the Thistle and the Chapel Royal, the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels and Dunfermline College. A collection of tapestries woven between 1971 and 1982 owned by the Saltire Society evoking the atmosphere of Border ballads are on display at Smailholm Tower.

In 1977 they moved to Kelso, where Donald died in 1996.

Access Information

The collection is available by appointment at the Scottish Borders Campus of Heriot-Watt University, Netherdale, Galashiels, Scottish Borders.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Archive, Records Management and Museum Service in 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An item level list is available in the search room.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Helen Taylor, Archivist, Heriot-Watt University Archive, Records Management and Museum Service.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents. Permission to publish material from the Archive must be sought in advance from the University Archivist. Responsibility for obtaining copyright clearance rests with the applicant.


Not expected

Related Material

Tapestry representing youth, vigour and the beauty of movement which had belonged to Alan McCrone, a former student who died in 1957. Gifted to the Scottish Woollen Technical College in 1961. A collection of dolls by his wife Ann Scott are held at the archives of Glasgow School of Art.

Location of Originals

The collection is original.